WEST LIBERTY – The West Liberty Opera House and Community Center recently took a giant step forward with a generous gift from Marianne Birt, a graduate of West Liberty-Salem and retired teacher and coach. She is the daughter of the late Arthur and Janet Perry Birt. Historical Society President Donna Lou Erwin presented Birt with a framed town hall print by Urbana artist Mike Major.
The Historical Society is launching the third, final and most exciting phase of its renovations to the town hall—the upstairs Opera House. The Society’s goal was to have half of the needed $600,000 in hand before launching its community fundraising campaign. This goal has been reached with a $150,000 grant from the Ohio Facilities Commission, two annual grants from the Columbus Foundation’s Mary Eleanor Morris Fund totaling $24,700, and individual donations from local residents and businesses. The Town Hall Committee is now seeking donations from community members as well as former residents to help bring this dream to reality. The first two phases of the town hall renovation were financed by community support with no large grants. Now that the building has been stabilized and the first-floor offices and restrooms completed, we look forward to bringing back to life the second floor opera house. It will serve as a community center and will be available to host such events as concerts and plays and will be available to rent for weddings, corporate meetings and reunions.
Just one gift of $300,000 is needed for naming rights, but donations of any size will make a difference. Donations can be made to the WL Historical Society, PO Box 159, West Liberty, OH 43357, or in person at the West Liberty Labor Day Festival. The Historical Society’s booth will be located in the southwest corner of the craft tent.