Your Town Stevens Point: Opera House set to start new life as event venue
WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - It’s a landmark in downtown Stevens Point, but for decades it has sat empty.
Now, a group is working to bring the old Fox Theater back to life as an event venue.
Jeanna Trzebiatowski is a part of that group. She said preserving the history of the building is a driving force behind the project.
“We have the local roots here that want to see this succeed, thrive, and not only build and continue to thrive in this community but become the gem of Stevens Point and Portage County as a whole,” Trzebiatowski said
The building dates back to the 19th century.
“In 1894, this building actually opened as the Opera House downtown Stevens Point,” Trzebiatowski said. “It operated for a few years and then closed its doors and then reopened actually as the Majestic Theater.”
The Wisconsin Amusement Company bought the building in 1928. That’s when it became the Fox Theater, operating for decades under that name.
“That closed its doors in the 1980s,” Trzebiatowski said.
Now, the building is getting a new chance at life, under an old name: Opera House.
When it’s completed, it’ll be a wedding and event venue.
“In 2020 we were able to acquire the property and salvage what was left of it and revitalized and turn it back into the Opera House,” Trzebiatowski said.
The group is taking the building back to its roots, and according to Trzebiatowski, using as much original material as possible.
“Everything that’s salvageable we’ve tried to use and revitalize along with the property itself,” she said. “With an old brick building like this, obviously there’s a lot of opportunities to reuse.”
The people bringing the old building back to life say they have a vested interest in its heritage.
“The owner and a lot of the team that’s working on this project are all locals,” Trzebiatowski said.
They also have a vision.
“When the project is finished, we’re going to have multiple event spaces, which is going to be very useful 12 months of the year,” Trzebiatowski said. “Out back...we’re going to have a large patio, which is going to be used for outdoor gatherings, food, and off the back of the patio, we’ll have a lovely beer garden, which will be open to the public.”
The group does not have a timeline yet for the completion of the project.
“We’re hoping that later this year we’ll be able to release a more concrete timeline,” Trzebiatowski said. “Right now we’re finally starting putting hammer to nail, being able to start doing work that people can see after the last two years of planning, communicating, getting plans, working with cities, historical societies, and all of those sorts of tasks that need to be completed first.”
The project has a ways to go, but in the meantime, they’re glad to have the support of the community.
“Everyone in the community, city government, local businesses, everybody wants to see this project done and up and running, and I think that’s the common goal that everybody’s been excited to see come together, and the finished project is only going to strengthen the community and help revitalize the downtown even further.
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