DerryNews.com, Derry, New Hampshire

Derry

February 20, 2014

Derry to get state grant for opera house work

State awards $20K for Opera House repairs

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Fowler hopes to pursue bids and award a contract by May 15 at the latest.

Plans call for closing the theater from Aug. 4 through Aug. 29 to complete the work.

“We are working hand-in-hand to minimize impacts on any shows they have,” Fowler said.

Officials have chosen a time in August when there is nothing scheduled.

The Derry Opera House is more than just a cultural center for the community and downtown.

Presidential candidates often use it. Mitt Romney and Rick Perry did during the 2012 campaign.

Opened in 1904, the Adams Memorial Building was donated by benefactor Benjamin Adams. Besides the opera house, the building houses offices of the Greater Derry Londonderry Chamber of Commerce, the Derry Housing Authority and the town museum.

None of those offices will be closed during the renovation, Fowler said.

The opera house itself also provides an economic boost to the community.

Fowler said people attending shows will visit nearby restaurants.

“That’s a positive,” he said. “It’s definitely an asset for the community.”

“Tremendously special,” is how Cahoon describes the opera house.

He said a community survey ranked the opera house among the two or three things the people of Derry are most proud.

The opera house is important to the community both because of its cultural impact and its location at the gateway to town, Cahoon said.

“It is a quintessential New England opera house,” he said. “Not everybody has them.”

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