A Community Development Block Grant administered by Greene County will be used to restore the facade of the Jamestown Opera House, 19 N Limestone St. RICHARD WILSON/STAFF

Jamestown Opera House to undergo repairs

A 130-year-old building in Jamestown used for concerts, theater productions, weddings and other special events will get a facelift.

Greene County is seeking bids from contractors to fix the brickwork and crumbling mortar on the front of the Jamestown Opera House, 19 N. Limestone St.

The estimated $30,000 project involves replacing deteriorated brick with salvaged historic bricks and is being paid for through the Community Development Block Grant program.

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Built in 1889, the opera house over the years has been the location for the village office, police and fire departments and library in the downstairs, as well as being an entertainment destination in the upstairs auditorium.

Mark Ferrell, vice president of the Jamestown Area Historical Society, said the historical society has invested more than $1 million into renovating the building. He said about 80 percent of the work is done, including repairs to the brickwork on the sides and rear of the building.

“To me, the opera house is a glimpse of the past that kids of today can see,” Ferrell said. “When you sit up there for a show, I guarantee you it will not be like anything you’ve experienced before … The acoustics in there was designed and made so you don’t need microphones.”

Since 2003, county commissioners have approved $123,500 in CDBG funds to make repairs and improve the building, according to Sarah Mault, Greene County community development coordinator.

Mault said four contractors have already submitted bids, but the county is rebidding the project because there was confusion about the scope of the project.

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“The re-bidding process will ensure the integrity of open and free competition during this procurement process,” Mault said.

A wide variety of shows happen at the opera house, from country and rock concerts to tap-dancing and stand-up comedy.

“Our goal is to have something once a month there,” Ferrell said. “The biggest thing we have going is not one person in the historical society is paid. Every dollar goes into the opera house to keep it going.”

A big show is planned for June when country music star Diane McCall, a New Jasper Twp. native, returns to perform at the opera house. Ferrell said the event is in the final planning stages and more details will be released soon.

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