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$150,000 Grant For Derby’s Sterling Opera House

by STAFF | Jan 29, 2013 9:22 am

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Posted to: Derby

U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro secured a grant for $150,000 that will go toward interior renovations at the Sterling Opera House on Elizabeth Street.

Derby Mayor Anthony Staffieri announced the news Monday in a prepared statement.

City officials have been working steadily to breathe new life into the 124-year-old structure, which once welcomed acts ranging from Lon Cheney, Sr. to Red Skelton.

It was a performing venue until 1945 and was then used as City Hall and a police station until 1965.

Most recently it has been marketed as a space rife with ghosts and supernatural activity.

While the exterior renovations are complete — including the restoration of the building’s cupola which looks over downtown Derby and the Housatonic River — the grant secured by DeRosa is the largest amount dedicated toward the interior makeover to date.

In September 2011, MOS, an architecture firm from New Haven, unveiled a plan for the inside of the opera house that would cost between $3 to $4 million to complete.

The opera house would become a multi-use venue, available for everything from performances to weddings, according to the vision from MOS, which was also endorsed by the mayor.

Shortly after the architects’ plan was made public, the Valley Community Foundation opened a fund for the renovation project. “Save Our Sterling,” a grassroots Derby group, donated $7,000 to the cause.

The VCF also gave $15,000 to the city for the renovation project.

The public is also welcomed to donate to the Sterling fund at VCF.

“I have always felt that putting the Sterling Opera House back to use as a regional arts/theater venue will help to improve the economic climate in Derby and throughout the lower Naugatuck Valley,” DeLauro said in a prepared statement.

“This is not the first time she has helped secure funding for the Sterling. Obviously, she understands the benefit of preserving history for future generations. The opera house will help to draw people downtown and help to revitalize this area,” Staffieri said in the same prepared statement. “We will continue to seek grants so that this expense is not carried by our taxpayers.”

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Comments

posted by: Stan Muzyk on January 29, 2013  10:11am

The Sterling Opera House restorations have progressed greatly—since it fell to a demise of being “an open pigeon coop.” Kudos to Mayor Tony Staffieri and Community Development Director Sheila O’Malley for securing the biggest grant yet for necessary interior renovations.

posted by: Rob Hyder 641 on January 29, 2013  2:31pm

Is it me or did the article say, “U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro secured a grant for $150,000 that will go toward interior renovations at the Sterling Opera House on Elizabeth Street.”

Stan Muzyk, I’m curious, where in the article do you see that Staffieri and O’Malley secured it?

posted by: Stan Muzyk on January 29, 2013  3:12pm

Rob Hyder:  I must be election year as your name reappears in an apparent bid to be politically correct. The grant from from Rep. Rosa DeLauro was secured by Derby City Hall.  I’m sorry that you happen to be politically opposed to Team Mayor Tony Staffieri and Director Sheila O’Malley, and you let that bother you. Have a good year, and please try not to take life too seriously.

posted by: Rob Hyder 641 on January 29, 2013  3:21pm

Stan, the grant was not secured by Derby City Hall.  The article specifies, not once, but twice, that Rosa DeLauro secured the grant.  Also, Sheila O’Malley’s name doesn’t appear in the article even once.

I’m sure the staff writers at the VIS take umbrage with your inference that they got their facts incorrect by stating Rosa DeLauro secured the grant if in fact your claim that your boss Tony Staffieri and Sheila O’Malley did so instead.

posted by: Stan Muzyk on January 29, 2013  3:35pm

Rob Hyder:  You have made the staff of Valley Independent Sentinel aware of the fact that they did not mention Sheila O’Malley’s name—even once. I’m sure that this doesn’t bother Sheila O’Malley. Please don’t let it bother you, Rob Hyder.

posted by: Eugene Driscoll on January 29, 2013  3:45pm

Here’s the original release from Sheila at City Hall:

Mayor Staffieri announces an additional $150,000 Grant for Sterling Opera House

Mayor Staffieri announced today that Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro has secured
additional funding for the City of Derby’s Sterling Opera House interior renovations.

In 2009, Congresswoman DeLauro secured $150,000 which was used as part of the funding to design the interior of the Opera House.

Prior to that, Rosa had also helped secure funding for the exterior of the building.

“I have always felt that putting the Sterling Opera Hous back to use as a regional arts/theater venue will help to improve the economic climate in Derby and throughout the Lower Naugatuck Valley. I am proud to be a part of this wonderful historic preservation project. Working together, we can make this
happen.” Said Congresswoman DeLauro

“I am very grateful to Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro for continuing to help
fund the renovations of our Opera House. She hasn’t let us down. This is
not the first time she has helped secure funding for the Sterling. Obviously,
she understands the benefit of preserving history for future generations. The
Opera House will help to draw people downtown and help to revitalize this
area. We will continue to seek grants so that this expense is not carried by our
taxpayers” Said Mayor Staffieri.

With federal, state and private funding, the City of Derby has been able to
completely renovate the exterior building, complete the design of the interior of
the building and get an estimated scope of cost for the interior renovations.

The City of Derby will work with Brad Schide of the CT Trust for Historic
Preservation and MOS (the architects that designed the interior)on next steps.

posted by: Rob Hyder 641 on January 29, 2013  3:55pm

Yep, exactly how I read the article too.

posted by: Stan Muzyk on January 29, 2013  7:13pm

Rob Hyder:  You read it—but obviously did not want to understand it. You made a crude effort to downplay giving any credit to the Mayor Tony Staffieri administration—in obtaining the $150,00 federal grant. Back in the days of the former Team Garofalo Democratic administraion—Mayor Marc Garofalo would hold a special news media photo-op when he received a $5,000 grant check from Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro—being photographed with DeLauro for the news media—with the check magnified to one-yard long. Garofalo gave himself credit for any grant money received by the City of Derby.

posted by: Eugene Driscoll on January 29, 2013  7:18pm

Politics aside, I just hope Derby can continue to snag grants to renovate the interior. We get a ton of press releases here for money being awarded to other parts of the state and for other projects—but boy, this one seems like it could have a huge impact.

posted by: Stan Muzyk on January 29, 2013  7:34pm

Eugene Driscoll:  I have complete confidence in Sheila O’Malley to continue to snag grants to renovate the interior.

posted by: Eugene Driscoll on January 29, 2013  7:40pm

Thanks, Stan, and an early happy President’s Day to you!

posted by: Stan Muzyk on January 29, 2013  7:50pm

Eeugene Driscoll: Thank you Gene—and a Happy Valentine’s Day and President’s Day—to you and yours also.

posted by: Ken Hughes on February 1, 2013  7:13am

What, and skip right over Groundhog Day?? Geesh.

posted by: Stan Muzyk on February 1, 2013  10:13am

Ken Hughes:  Perhaps Dan Waleski will host another GroundHog Day at PFC Frank P. Witek Memorial Park this year?

posted by: Eugene Driscoll on February 1, 2013  10:17am

Does Dan really do a groundhog even locally? Is he doing one tomorrow? WE WANT TO COVER

posted by: Stan Muzyk on February 1, 2013  10:27am

Eugene Driscoll: If Dan is—he hasn’t invited me.

posted by: Rob Hyder 641 on February 1, 2013  10:29am

Stan, will you let us know if you see your shadow?  Have a great weekend.

posted by: Stan Muzyk on February 1, 2013  10:36am

Rob Hyder 641: The only shadow anyone might see—is YOURS.  Enjoy yours, also.

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