Sterling Unveiled!

The scaffolding is gone!!

It was a dark, rainy and foggy night on Tuesday as workers dismantled the scaffolding surrounding the front of the historical Sterling Opera House in the heart of downtown Derby.  However, even a dreary Wednesday couldn't detract from the special bit of sunshine emanating from the restored front facade of the grand old building. City residents have been waiting a long time to see something positive happen to the building after decades of decay, and now they can see the signs of past glory and future hope. The front of the historically important building has been painstakingly restored. New doors and windows have been installed and the brickwork restored. Though much remains to be done, residents now have at least a glimpse of what might be in the years ahead. (Click here to see a story about the 2006 roof replacement.)

Our original story from the start of the project:

Sterling Opera House more than a century ago!

Senator Crisco & Mayor Garofalo donned the hard hats to start the restoration work in February, 2002!

City of Derby Mayor Marc Garofalo and State Senator Joe Crisco (D-17) kicked off the long- awaited Sterling Opera House restoration with the laying of the ceremonial "first brick" for Phase I of the project on Friday, February 23 of 2002. The ceremony was followed by a brief press conference where the Senator and the Mayor answered questions about the project from the press and public.

This phase of the restoration is intended to achieve an emergency stabilization of the structure through the repair/replacement of doors and windows on the east fašade as well as the installation of new roof leaders and drains to prevent further erosion of the building’s masonry. It is based on a plan for the historic structure’s total restoration that is being developed by Fletcher Thompson Architects of Bridgeport.

This phase is being funded with a $200,000 grant from the State of Connecticut, which was secured for the Sterling by State Senator Crisco. Senator Crisco is also responsible for securing an additional $1 million state grant, which the City looks forward to accessing for the project’s next phase.

Merit Associates of Branford, CT has been chosen as the restoration contractor for this first phase of the Sterling restoration. Merit’s prior experience in historic restoration includes the Meriden City Hall Clock Tower and the Academy School in Madison as well as both the First Congregational and Trinity Episcopal Churches in Branford.

The Sterling Opera House restoration is a long-term project intended to establish a regional center for the performing arts at Derby’s historic Sterling Opera House, Connecticut’s first National Historic Landmark. With $100,000 in combined funding from the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven and the City of Derby, the City and Fletcher Thompson Architects is in the midst of conducting an architectural & feasibility study to determine the best use and operating model to sustain the theatre as well as the total cost to restore the facility.

To date, the project has earned the following financial commitments:

City of Derby - $85,000

Community Foundation for Greater New Haven - $50,000

Congressman Jim Maloney (D-5) (HUD-VA) - $100,000

State Sen. Joe Crisco (Urban Act, CT Cultural Grant) - $ 1,200,000

To read more about the Sterling Opera House and some of the entertainers who have appeared there click here.


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