AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Officials with the Amarillo Historical Preservation Foundation (AHPF) announced on Thursday that the downtown Paramount Theater Building is set to receive a “retrofit” upgrade with LED bulbs in celebration of the 90th birthday of the historic building.
Officials detailed that Center City of Amarillo will match the grant, through its façade grant program, that was received from Xcel Energy’s grant funding.
“The Paramount sign is an icon of not only downtown but for all of Amarillo,” said Charles Lynch, president of the Amarillo Historical Preservation Foundation, which restored the sign with Center City’s help in 2006. “It’s a throwback to a time when Polk Street was brilliantly illuminated with neon from end to end, and it’s a striking symbol of a downtown redevelopment effort that is paying off big for Amarillo. We’re grateful for Center City, Xcel Energy and SkyRite for investing in the future of one of our most treasured landmarks.”
The AHPF retains ownership of the sign along with the owner of the Paramount Building and, according to Xcel Energy, the brighter lights will save on monthly costs as they will use 75% less energy and will last up to 15 times longer.
“Our 1943 annual report called Polk Street the ‘best lighted Main Street in America’ and featured a night view of downtown dominated by the Paramount sign,” said Brad Baldridge, Xcel Energy director of Customer and Community Relations. “Almost 80 years later we’re still proud of Polk Street, and the Paramount sign is a great advertisement for the benefits of LED lighting.”
“The restoration of the iconic Paramount sign was a catalyst project for our downtown,” said Beth
Duke, executive director of Center City of Amarillo. “The sign became an instant landmark and
inspired others to revitalize Center City. When you see the Paramount sign, you know you’ve arrived
in historic downtown Amarillo.”