CUBA — Ten years ago, few people had any hope the Palmer Opera House would ever come back to life.
Now, the Cuba Friends of Architecture are counting down in terms of months until the 142-year-old building opens again for business.
After racking up about $1.5 million in grants and donations — along with about 8,000 hours of volunteer labor — CFA officials are pleased with the major turnaround.
Twelve years ago, the Palmer Opera House, at 12-16 W. Main St., was a disaster area. The roof caved in during winter 2001, leaving the building open to the elements.
“Pretty much, if you walked through out here, you had a pretty good chance of falling down to the floor of the basement,” CFA co-founder Donald Donovan said.
He noted only a few feet of original floorboards on each story were saved, the rest needing replacement.
The biggest hurdle now is getting an elevator installed — giving the upstairs handicapped access for the first time in the theater’s history.
“We’re trying to raise money for that — it’s going to cost at least $40,000,” said CFA co-founder Carol Donovan.
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