Grant-ing Upgrades

BARRE, Vt. (WCAX) A building in downtown Barre is celebrating its second century with some upgrades.

The Barre Opera House recently received a 150-thousand dollar donation from the National Life Group Foundation. It's part of a $1,000,000 renovation campaign aimed at fixing up the 120-year-old performing arts venue.

The money will be used to replace the downstairs seats, repaint the walls and upgrade the rigging system. Some of the pieces in that area are original to 1899 when the opera house was first built. The upgrades are needed so that the venue can continue to bring revenue into the area.

"For most of our shows now we're drawing people from surrounding states and from Canada and when that happens, the restaurants fill, hotel rooms are booked, bars are busier afterwards," Barre Opera House Director, Dan Casey, said. "We're generating a lot of spending here in town and in Central Vermont."

Northfield Savings Bank, People's Bank, Vermont mutual one and Capitol Candy have also made major contributions towards the project. They are two-thirds of the way towards raising the needed funds and the hope is work could start as soon as this spring.