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Grand Ledge Opera House is asking the community for help to stay afloat

Grand Ledge Opera House
Posted at 1:15 PM, Apr 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-15 17:03:52-04

DELTA TOWNSHIP, Mich. — The Grand Ledge Opera House has been closed since March of 2020 and refunded more than $80,000 in rental fees to people who has reserved space and had to cancel.

"Our contract says no refunds, but we felt it was the right thing to do," said opera house Executive Director Nancy Harvey.

The opera house opened in 1884 as a roller skating rink, but became an opera house two years later. It has served as a movie theater, furniture store and a warehouse.

In the 1980s, Mapes furniture, which had been using the building for storage, sold it to the Grand Ledge Opera House Authority for $1, which reopened it in 1993 after extensive renovations.

"Through community donations, they restored it and it is now a historical building," Harvey said.

The Grand Ledge Opera House is looking to the community for support.
The Grand Ledge Opera House is looking to the community for support.

The opera house's budget comes from rentals.

Due to restrictions, they're only allowed 25 people in attendance. A Small Business Association loan has helped get them through, but "that's about to run out, and so now we're calling upon the community to help support this historic building here in Grand Ledge," Harvey said.

One of the rooms in the Grand Ledge Opera House.
One of the rooms in the Grand Ledge Opera House.

That is why the opera house is looking for donations from the community. Harvey said they applied for another Small Business Association loan, but they would like to raise $50,000 on top of that.

If they don't raise funds and get another loan, Harvey said closing the doors could be a possibility in the future.

"It cost us a lot of money to keep this building going even though it's empty. But you know we have continued bills every month, and we need to raise money, or we're going to be in real trouble," Harvey said.

Terrace level entrance
Terrace level entrance

As the opera house looks to rebound, Harvey said they're doing bookings for 2022 and have bookings for later this year.

"Although we don't know if those will have to be refunded or if we will be able to move forward with them or not," she said. "But we're booking for 2022 in hopes that we will be able to conduct business as usual."

If people are interested in donating, they can click here or send a check to the opera house.

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