Norway Opera House won’t be getting $200,000 grant

NORWAY — The request for a $200,000 federal grant to repair the back wall and roof of the Norway Opera House on Main Street has been turned down.

The money was sought from the Northern Border Regional Commission, said Dennis Gray, president of the Norway Opera House Corp., which owns the 1894 brick structure.

operahouse121713The town applied for the grant and town officials said at the time that approval was a long shot.

Gray said Monday that the project architect, Denis Lachman of Lachman Architects & Planners of Portland, said it appears it will take about $2 million to complete the multiyear renovation of the historic building.

The town took the Opera House by eminent domain in 2010 after a partial roof collapse in 2007 rendered it structurally unsafe. It has been stabilized and the five first-floor storefronts have been renovated. However, the second floor ballroom and third floor balcony have temporary staging, the bricks on the back wall need to be replaced, the windows on the back wall need to be rebuilt and the condition of the roof needs to be assessed.

“There may be some issues around the clock tower,” Gray said of the roof that meets the clock tower on the top of the building.

The Opera House is in the heart of the town’s historic district and was once the center of community and cultural events. It has had a success of owners. The upper floors have been vacant for decades.