The group working to restore a downtown landmark received another big financial boost recently, dollars that will help the project move closer to its completion.
The cash infusion comes from two sources: $140,000 from the Ohio capital projects budget and $20,000 from the PNC Charitable Trust. With it, the board of directors of the Grand Theater for the Performing Arts Restoration Project will be able to make further improvements on the South Fourth Street building.
Money from the state will go toward the installation of heating and air conditioning in the main theater portion of the building, and the dollars from the trust will allow work to begin on the third floor windows and the repointing of the brick facade. Both projects are important pieces of the restoration.
While the addition of heating and air conditioning will make future work on the inside of the building a little easier, the exterior work will help to show off the quality of the original brick work that dates back as much as 130 years.
News that the money was coming to the Steubenville project will allow officials to continue their steady progress toward the goal of establishing a focal point for performing arts and entertainment. That, in turn, it is hoped, will serve as a catalyst for bringing people back to downtown Steubenville.
Dedicated volunteers, led by board President Scott Dressel, have been working to make those goals a reality since efforts began in 2010. For instance, the building received a new roof in 2011 and the lobby was restored in 2012. Things were even busier in 2013, when asbestos removal was completed, laser scanning of the interior was completed and the front facade was cleaned.
That the work can continue is due in part to state Sen. Lou Gentile, D-Steubenville, and state Rep. Jack Cera, D-Bellaire. Their efforts in Columbus helped secure the money that's coming from the state.
Admittedly, there's a great deal of work to be done before the theater is completely restored and a piece of Steubenville's history is brought back to life. The sign and marquee need to be completed; one of the ballrooms is waiting restoration, which will allow small events to be held in the building; and work is needed on the ceiling and walls.
We're certain the support the community has shown the project to date will continue, and that the work will be completed.
That said, we congratulate Dressel and his board for what they have accomplished, and thank Gentile and Cera for helping to ensure some of our tax dollars are returned to our region of the state.