Funding pulled from Opera House reno project
County funding for the Memorial Opera House in Valparaiso has been pulled. Our partners at Lakeshore Public Radio report the Porter County Council withdrew previously-approved funding for the renovation and expansion of the venue.
The project, estimated to cost $7.5 million, would include renovations to improve plumbing, electrical HVAC and masonry on the 130-year-old building.
Plans also call for renovations to the former sheriff’s building next door and building a connector between the two that would help expand the lobby and provide accessible restrooms.
Last year, the council approved using $5 million from the county’s American Rescue Plan Act funds to support the project. But that funding was removed Tuesday amid worries that county commissioners are trying to scale back the project.
Council President Jeremy Rivas said he wants to make sure the full project moves forward.
“If we’re just going to, you know, do what we did 10 years ago, tuck point a little bit, fix a few windows, put some caulk in it, we’ll be right back here in 10 years,” Rivas said.
The Opera House Foundation had planned to cover the remaining $2.5 million. It’s not clear whether the latest move by the council will delay work on the project.