Proposal puts opera house project in further jeopardy
A plan to renovate the Memorial Opera House in Valparaiso is facing yet another hurdle. Our partners at Lakeshore Public Radio report the Porter County Commissioners are now seeking to lease out the former sheriff’s residence, which was a major portion of the $7.5 million renovation project.
The renovation effort would not only have featured improvements to the 130-year-old opera house’s plumbing, electrical HVAC and masonry, but also updating the sheriff’s residents located next door and building a connector between the two buildings in order to help expand the lobby and provide accessible restrooms.
County funding was originally approved for the renovation project, but was later pulled by the Porter County Council.
Now, the Porter County Commissioners have given their approval to get two appraisals to determine what a fair market rent would be for a long-term tenant.
If the sheriff’s residence is leased out, the county said the tenant would be responsible for making any necessary improvements, with expenses being deducted from rent payments. The revenues from the rent would help cover maintenance costs for the building.
“This is just a good way for us to help to maintain that building and to make improvements to that building without having to ask the taxpayers to subsidize that,” Commissioner Barb Regnitz said during the commissioners’ meeting on Tuesday.
It was not clear how long the appraisals would take to complete.
You can read the full story from Lakeshore Public Radio’s Michael Gallenberger by clicking here.