Havre de Grace Opera House project gets $200,000 state grant

The Havre de Grace Opera House recently got a state-sponsored push toward renovation, as did four other projects around Harford County, two of them also in Havre de Grace.

The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development awarded the City of Havre de Grace $200,000 toward upgrading the opera house, according to a press release issued last week.

The latest award is part of $475,000 approved for Harford County in 2014 Community Legacy grants administered by the state department,

The Town of Bel Air was awarded $150,000 toward its plan to turn the Bel Air Reckord Armory garages into marketplaces. The armory property has received several such grants for a variety of upgrades over the years.

Other Community Legacy Grant awards include $50,000 for a facade improvement program in Aberdeen, $50,000 for a living fence facade project in Havre de Grace and $25,000 for a facade improvement program in Havre de Grace.

The opera house will cost an estimated $2.6 million to renovate. The city also got a $250,000 state bond approved toward the project in April 2013 and previously had spent some $300,000 on architectural and engineering and other preparation costs. Supporters of the project are hoping to use a combination of public funding from the city, state and Harford County and private funding from donations and foundation grants.

Renovating the opera house will include restoring and upgrading the second-floor theater and putting a box office, more rehearsal and meeting space, dressing rooms and handicap-accessible bathrooms on the first floor. The project will also connect the opera house with the adjacent firehouse building.

The opera house building formerly served as Havre de Grace's city hall for many decades in the 20th Century.

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