Restoration continues at historic opera house

MENOMINEE, Mich. – For the past seven years the Menominee Opera House has been under construction.

Committee members say their goal is to restore the historic building and bring back musical performances.

Michael Reed grew up in Menominee always admiring the building made out of brick and white pine lumber.

“Walking down the street just a couple of years ago a friend and I were chatting and we saw this building and he mentioned to me and said, ‘Man, I wonder when they’re going to open the opera house back up,’” said Michael Reed.

Now the local musician is set to perform for the opera house’s upcoming musical event.

“I’m really privileged to be a part of that,” Reed said.

But before the musical performances can begin, there’s still some work that needs to be done.

William Huntley is a member of the Menominee Opera House Committee and he’s working to restore the 112-year-old building.

“We’ve completed the roof over the façade of the building and we’re in the midst of doing brick repair work on the front of the building also,” said William Huntley.

Sometimes construction projects don’t always go as planned. Two weeks ago contractors realized underground power lines were too close to where they wanted to put a wheelchair ramp.

“That stopped us in our tracks because we were going to dig footings in for the ramp so we had to redesign what we were going to do and we worked all the problems out and now we’re back on track but we were not far enough ahead to do our June 22 event that we had hoped to do,” Huntley said.

Huntley says it could take $15 million to reconstruct the opera house.

So far the committee has raised around a quarter of a million dollars.

“Our biggest focus right now is on the preservation of the building, making it weather tight and maintain it for the future,” Huntley said.

Huntley says if you look past the graffiti and the piles of bricks, the old building still has some life left.

“It just gives you a feeling. I like preserving the old structures. I think history is very important,” Huntley said.

Huntley says the opera house will announce the new date for its upcoming musical event within the next couple of weeks.

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