City awarded $73,000 state grant to revamp Aurora Fox’s neon sign

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AURORA | For nearly 75 years, three fuchsia letters have beckoned movie and theater patrons to 9900 East Colfax Avenue.

At 61-feet-tall, the marquee of the Aurora Fox Arts Center is hard to miss. 

But 73 years of Colorado weather have caused the neon beacon to appear a bit long in the tooth. 

Rusty bolts and sun-stained paint are just a couple of the wrinkles currently visible to a discerning eye.

on Thursday Oct. 15, 2015 at Aurora Fox Theater.
Photo by Gabriel Christus/Aurora Sentinel

But now, thanks to a cash injection from the city and the Colorado State Historic Fund, the teal sign is primed to receive a face-lift. 

The city’s Historic Sites and Preservation Office last month received a $72,837 grant from the state to spruce up the Fox’s neon sign and facade. The city had originally requested $83,560 for the restoration project, according to state documents.

The city will pitch in an additional $30,000 of municipal funds for the restoration, according to Midori Clark, director of the city’s Library and Cultural Services Department.

Visit Aurora is giving an additional $5,000, and the Aurora Historical Society is contributing another $2,476, Clark said.

The funds will be used to retool some faulty wiring and revamp the sign’s neon tubes, among other improvements.

Originally opened as a movie theater in 1946, the city purchased The Fox in 1985. A city-sponsored theater company has been based in the building — originally an elongated Quonset hut — ever since. 

“I think anyone who grew up in Aurora during that time frame has very fond memories of the sign and the theater of itself,” Clark said. “It’s really important to us now to maintain the flavor of that area and restore that iconic sign so that a whole new generation of Aurorans can recognize it and make their own memories there.”

The Fox’s 35th season kicks off Sept. 20.

The sign renovations are expected to begin in the coming months and be completed in March 2021.