BRIGHTON – The Town Hall of Brighton is under renovations to restore it to its original grandeur and bring back the exceptional character of that time.
The building, known as the Historic Opera Block, was built in 1889. Over the years some of the original parts of the building were taken down or covered with vinyl siding. But after expansive work and research, the building will go through a renaissance. The new materials will keep it in excellent condition for years to come with little maintenance.
Oct., 30 at a special meeting, Brighton voters approved an additional $69,000 toward the project. About 50 people turned out for the meeting, said Joel Cope, the town administrative assistant. No one opposed the funding during the voice vote, Cope added. The town still expects a $20,000 grant.
The town has already received $465,000 in grants and a $50,000 appropriation approved by voters in 2009.
When the project began, it was unclear what the exact cost would be. The lowest bid did not cover the entire project and fell about $69,000 short. There were a lot of unknowns of what the project would require. Removing the vinyl siding presented a clearer picture of what was needed.
The additional work includes 19th-Century period windows, a large palladium window, and two storefront windows on the street side of the building.
The block is the town center and home to the Town Hall, where public and private meetings occur. It is home to the library and the Brighton Town Clerk's Office, probate court, and NEKCA,and it houses a bank. Basketball games are played in its gym and various theatrical and musical productions are performed there.
When work was underway on the building a few years ago to make it more energy efficient, Cope decided to inquire on what it would cost to fully restore the building. He soon learned that the amount did seem too far out of reach considering grant money available. The town had received Federal Stimulus money to help pay for the energy efficiently upgrades. The full cost of the renovations is close to $600,000. Planning on the project began in 2011.