Grand project moving forward

The restoration efforts of the Grand Theater on South Fourth Street in Steubenville have been steady, and most of the work has been done on the inside.

But turning on the theater’s outdoor sign has shed new light on the project.

The Historic Steubenville Landmarks Foundation Restoration Project and a group of loyal volunteers have been working to bring new life to the building that originally housed a saloon and livery station in the 1880s and was converted into a theater by four brothers in 1920.

The organization, which owns the building, has sealed the building’s leaking roof, removed the main floor auditorium seats and cleaned of the interior of the building.

Volunteers have even restored the lobby of the theater with paint and new carpeting.

Asbestos-covered pipes in the theater were recently removed under a $49,748 contract funded through a Clean Ohio Revitalization Fund grant received by the city last year.

Now, work is moving to the exterior.

Scott Dressel, chairman of the foundation, said plans are in the works to power wash a coat of paint off the front of the theater to again expose the bricks.

Dressel believes turning on the Grand Theater sign is symbolic in that it shows work is being done.

The lobby is also lit up at night.

The theater project is steadily moving forward, but it is encouraging to look back at how far the committee has come.

Dressel is right when he says decisions are made too fast to tear down old buildings that contain a rich part of the community’s history.

It may take several more years, a lot of volunteer sweat and muscle and cash tapped from yet-to-be-determined sources before the theater is resorted to its former grand self.

When that happens, the community will owe thanks to the foundation for taking the steps, small as they seem at times, to save the building.