Peoples Bank Theatre awarded $500K from state

The finish line is almost in sight for Peoples Bank Theatre thanks to a half million dollar allocation the renovation project received this week as part of the state budget.

The money leaves another $750,000 to go before the Putnam Street theater reaches its $7.5 million funding budget and puts the project in a position for the final phase of construction, said Hippodrome-Colony Historical Theatre Association director of development Hunt Brawley.

“This puts us really close to somewhere we could start construction and pick up an occupancy permit,” he said.

Most recently, work has been progressing on the sidewalk on the Third Street side of the theater and inside the theater.

Brawley estimated the remaining construction will cost around $5.5 million.

The money already in place would likely fund enough construction to make the theater operational while the $750,000 still needed would be used for cosmetic touches, decorations and equipment.

The goal is to finish all the remaining construction in one fell swoop. The decision to wait for full funding or start construction and finalize the last tenth of fundraising during the process would rest with the association’s board, said Brawley.

Once the board gives the go-ahead, Brawley estimates it will take a year to have the theater ready to open.

The state budget, which Gov. John Kasich signed Wednesday, allocated $2.3 billion for local projects. Of that, $1.8 million was earmarked for projects in Washington County.

Washington State Community College received $900,000 for roof and HVAC repairs.

That money will be used to replace the roof on the main building on campus and upgrade some air handling units on that roof, said Washington State Chief Financial Officer Jess Raines.

“It’s the original roof on the building, and we have surpassed its useful life,” said Raines.

The building is nearly 25 years old, he said.

The college also received a quarter million dollars to be used with the Marietta Family YMCA to help fund the Marietta YMCA Health Wellness & Education Facility on the college’s campus.

While that’s not as much funding as was requested, the college is grateful for the funding, said WSCC President Bradley Ebersole.

“We’ll take what we can get and move forward with it,” he said.

The project will include a new Marietta YMCA facility with classroom and event space built on the college campus.

Raines said the allocation would allow for some feasibility and impact studies, as well as potentially fund some initial architectural planning.

In addition to the funding for the theater and college projects, the Ohio River Museum and Campus Martius Museum received $197,400 in funding.