Buildings improve as funds are raised |

Buildings improve as funds are raised

By this time next year, Miners Foundry on Spring Street in Nevada City could boast new bathrooms, new administrative offices and a new multi-purpose room.

And a new sprinkler system, thanks to a $50,000 state grant.

Volunteers have recently started a campaign to raise $82,000 to get the construction under way.

The installation of the new fire sprinkler is scheduled for January and the other improvements in June.

Volunteers in charge of the Miners Foundry and other Gold Rush-era buildings – the Nevada Theatre on nearby Broad Street, and St. Joseph’s Cultural Center in Grass Valley – all have plans to do major renovations, as well.

And they are all trying to figure out ways to raise money to pay for them all.

“It’s not going to be a slam-dunk,” said Ellen Davis, executive director for the Miners Foundry.

The Nevada Theatre, home of the Foothill Theatre Company, is expected to spend $40,000 next year for a new fire alarm system and for a wheelchair-accessible bathroom.

The improvements could be paid for thanks to private donors and fund-raisers, including a concert benefit by two-time Grammy winner Taj Mahal at the Nevada County Fairgrounds Dec. 19.

John McDade, theater manager, also hopes to one day raise enough money to redesign the balcony so that more people can watch plays.

“Write us a check, will you?,” McDade said.

Joseph Guida, executive director at St. Joseph’s Cultural Center at the corner of South School and Church streets, said he hopes to increase revenues to pay for major renovations – an estimated $2 million worth.

The most urgent repairs have already been done.

The priority would be to renovate and repair the Grand Hall, he said.

A new roof was installed during the summer of 2001. And thanks to a $250,000 state grant, the foyer near the Grand Hall has been renovated, several new wooden staircases built, and two crumbling ceilings reconstructed.

Guida hopes to increase revenues by scheduling more weddings at the center. He hopes for 10 more next year, said Guida, near some new railings installed this summer.

The venue has hosted 16 weddings so far this year, he said.

To raise money for the cultural center, Community Players are presenting scenes based on Robert Fulghum’s book “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” this weekend.

The benefit could raise $1,000, Guida said.

A group of Nevada County entertainers donated their performances for the center Sunday and raised $860 last weekend, he said.

“We’re trying to raise the $2 million slowly but surely,” he said.

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