23 Aug 2014
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Patch Instagram photo by annmaries_hair_on_madison
Patch Instagram photo by annmaries_hair_on_madison

Council Approves $8,600 for Work on Stratford’s 'White House'

Repairs, renovations continue on the mansion that sits at the entrance to Shakespeare Theatre.

Council Approves $8,600 for Work on Stratford’s 'White House'

Stratford Town Council members Tuesday approved $8,600 for work on the mansion known as the 'White House' that sits at the entrance to Shakespeare Theatre on Elm Street.

The money will be allocated as follows: $3,800 for a fireplace hearth; $1,850 for a false chimney; and $2,950 for wood replacement.

"I understand this building," said Chairman Joe Kubic (R-9). "We've realized it's in good shape [and] going to be a gem for the community."

"I had a long discussion with the architect, he's impressed," said Councilman Matt Catalano (R-3). "This will be a tremendous asset to the town of Stratford."

In July, Town Council members approved a "local historic property" designation for the mansion, a move which gives the Greek revival building, circa 1840, a better shot at securing state and federal funding through preservation grants, which can help pay for repairs and renovations.

Theatre supporters believe the defunct building can be transformed into a not-for-profit center for the arts, which can display Shakespeare Theatre archives such as those showcased at an exhibition at the Fairfield Museum and History Center.

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In an effort to explore potential options for the fabled Stratford theatre, the town hired an agency called the Arts Consulting Group. In April, the agency presented a few ways to go about breathing new life into the long-shuttered theatre that once staged plays starring famous actors, the likes of which included Katharine Hepburn.

The concepts ranged in price from $3.2 million for a "temporary," summer theatre that would host 30 to 40 events a year, to $29.6 million for a venue that would be open year-round, put on 192 events a year and potentially rake in $2 million in annual revenue. All options would rely heavily on an ambitious fundraising campaign.

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