The group plans to renovate the St. Marys theater and opera house


ST. MARYS – A group has been formed to raise funds to renovate the St. Marys Theater and the Grand Opera House in the 100 block of West Spring Street.

“As of 4:00 p.m. on July 30, the recently formed non-profit organization, Friends of St. Marys Theater & Grand Opera House, Inc., purchased, with the help of the People’s Bank, this large , iconic and majestic building – a piece of St. Marians heart and memories since 1895, but closed to our city for about a decade, ”said Doug Spencer, organizer of the building’s restoration effort.

Organizers hope to raise enough money to restore the local monument to a “vibrant performing arts center” ahead of the city’s bicentennial celebration in 2023.

“Our vision is to provide our youth and adults with a myriad of entertainment options in this multi-entertainment venue, such as classic and second-run movies, themed movie events – Christmas movies, Christmas movies. ” Halloween, silent films with music provided by local musicians, concerts of music of all kinds, actors, conferences, dinner shows, etc. The Grand Ballroom will also host receptions, corporate events, Christmas parties, family and class reunions, and more. These are big plans for a big building, ”Spencer said.

Spencer says they are still in the process of estimating the cost of renovations which could reach over $ 3 million.

“Local and foreign experts, under the guidance of our consultant, Michael Hurwitz, will assess the building and provide cost forecasts. Cotterman & Company has been contracted to repair the flat U-shaped roof. We expect the work to be completed by November. We know there will need to be upgrades to HVAC, electrical, plumbing, a ballroom elevator as well as cosmetic upgrades. In order to be able to show films again, cinema and sound equipment will need to be purchased as well as upgrades to the stage rigging system, ”said Spencer.

Michael Hurwitz, founder of Historic Opera Houses of Columbus acts as a consultant on the project and believes the property can be saved.

“I walked in here and on a scale of one to ten it’s a seven. The stewardship of the previous owner’s property was solid. The roof was not collapsing. There were no birds nesting in the theater and it is doable. The team that has been put together is exceptional and that’s what it takes, ”said Hurwitz.

The organization is still awaiting approval for their 501c3 nonprofit app, but that hasn’t stopped them from asking for donations.

Those who donate $ 200 will be part of the Bicentennial Club.

Those who donate $ 1,823 will be in the 1823 Club. 1823 marks the founding year of St. Marys.

If you donate $ 2023, you will be in the 2023 Club, which marks the time when St. Marys celebrates its bicentennial.

If you donate higher amounts like $ 10,000 or $ 25,000, you will get recognition on a new sidewalk.

Ellen Hunter, owner of Audiology Associates, has committed $ 50,000 to the project.

To donate you can go to their website at or contributions can be made to the St. Marys Community Foundation and mailed to 206 E. Spring St., St. Marys or dropped off there. .

“If you are not worried about the tax deduction documents, please send a check payable to Friends of St. Marys Theater and Grand Opera House and mail to PO Box 382, St. Marys, Ohio 45885, ”Spencer said. .

This rendering shows what the renovated Grand Opera Theater could look like, once completed.

A group from St. Marys wants to renovate the theater and opera house in St. Marys.

A campaign to save the St. Marys Theater and Ballroom was announced Wednesday in St. Marys. Over $ 3 million is needed to renovate the property.

A grassroots group on Wednesday announced plans to renovate the old St. Marys Theater and the Grand Ballroom.

Contact Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.

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