DERRY — The time to repair the Adams Memorial Opera House is now.
That’s the word coming from Public Works director Michael Fowler, who appeared before the Town Council at a meeting March 4 to ask for approval to spend money for the renovations this year.
Councilors voted, 5-2, to approve spending $150,000 from the public works capital project fund to do work on the historic performance venue located inside the Adams Memorial Building on Broadway.
Councilors Mark Osborne and Al Dimmock were the two dissenters. They said they wanted to wait a year before doing the work.
In September, the balcony at the Opera House was closed, Fowler said, following an inspection revealing areas in need of repair and potential safety concerns.
Major issues were stress on the roof and ceiling structural problems.
The upper seating area of the Opera House remains off limits until those repairs can be made to ensure safety for those attending performances.
Fowler originally planned to have the work done in next year’s budget cycle, but the news about the more serious structural safety hazards brought the project to the top of his list.
“We seek to move forward now,” he said. “We are ready to go and we can make this happen.”
Several groups call the town-owned Adams Building home, including the Greater Derry Londonderry Chamber of Commerce, Greater Derry Arts Council, and Derry’s Housing and Redevelopment Authority.
Last month, Gov. Maggie Hassan and the Executive Council awarded $20,000 to the Arts Council to complete plaster and painting work inside the Opera House.
That will coincide with the broader repairs that will be funded by the town.
“We will do all the work at the same time,” Fowler said.
Some, including Dimmock and Osborne, wanted to wait another year before paying for Opera House work.