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Bringing Hollywood home

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While the historic downtown Wilma building transforms from a quirky theater and downtown apartment building to a quirky theater and upscale condominium, many of the interior changes will be hardly noticed. Others are sure to draw some attention.

Take the sidewalks for example. Last week Justin Metcalf, vice president of Rocky Mountain Development Group—the Wilma’s new owners—sent an e-mail detailing the company’s plan for replacing roughly 60 feet of sidewalk in front of the building along Higgins Avenue. The sidewalks need replacing anyway, he says, but in an effort “to dress up the front of the building and have some fun,” he wants to replace the existing sidewalk with colored concrete decorated with “golden stars” stamped inside each 5 1/2-foot square. Each square will then have a 10-inch circular brass medallion imbedded in the center. A large, stylized “W” (the same “W” emblazoned in the pattern of the Wilma’s custom carpeting), will dominate the top half of the star with one to two inches available below it for a customized dedication.

Metcalf plans to sell the medallions for $5,000.

“The spirit of the dedications is intended to be upbeat, local, full of fun, and provide that ‘warm fuzzy feeling’…” he writes.

Metcalf says advertisers lined up for the right to put their name on medallions, but he decided to go another route.

“I just didn’t have it in me to sell stars for advertising,” he told the Independent in an interview.

Metcalf says a handful of the stars would be set aside for dedications to the building’s original owners. He hopes the fund drive will raise $50,000 to help renovate the interior of the classic Wilma Theatre.

“This enables us to do some things we might not otherwise be able to do,” he says, such as replacing or restoring seating on the first floor of the theater. 

Metcalf says he still needs to seek city approval for any kind of sidewalk project and, he adds, he wants to hear from the community before he goes forward on what he calls “Hollywood Blvd. in Missoula.”

“We’d love to hear feedback from people on the idea,” he says.

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