Goss about halfway to obtaining matching grant

An effort to match a $250,000 grant to the Friends of the Goss Opera House foundation is about half complete with a Dec. 31 deadline rapidly approaching.

Anyone who believes in the restoration of the Goss is encouraged to donate by year’s end to help take advantage of this opportunity.

On Nov. 15, Charlie Ewalt, chairman of the Watertown Area Community Foundation (WACF) announced the Friends of the Goss Opera House non-profit was the recipient of an anonymous $250,000 matching grant. The announcement came at an event held at the Goss. Just prior to the WACF announcement, Reliabank chairman David Johnson shared with event attendees that the bank would double its contribution to the project.

“Momentum. Amazing momentum! Since our November event we have seen current supporters increase their donation to take advantage of the matching grant. We have also had several new supporters join in the efforts to Light Up the Goss,” said Missy Sinner, Executive Director of the Friends of the Goss Opera House. “We remain focused on fundraising. Our steering committee is working hard to take full advantage of this extraordinary gift.”

The Friends of the Goss non-profit completed the purchase of the opera house and adjacent historic bank building on Dec. 31, 2018 and have since been working to complete the restoration of the 130-year-old building.

“We have replaced the roof, added insulation to all exterior walls and the attic, replaced inefficient windows, and are currently installing a new HVAC system,” said Milt Carter, Friends of the Goss Opera House board president. “It is no small feat to get this far, and we are proud to say that nearly everything in the Goss is being sourced and completed by local contractors and businesses.”

One of those businesses, Rausch Granite, offered to donate all of the granite for the project.

“When I first heard about the Goss, I was immediately excited at the prospect of having such a historical and quality venue reopened,” said David Rausch, VP of Sales and Marketing for Rausch Granite. “I think the Goss will be a great benefit to the local community, so I want to help make everyone’s experience at the Goss the best it can be.”

The Friends of the Goss also plans to have LATI’s building trades technology students back to work on restoration projects over the winter. The students assisted with demolition and drywall work this past fall.

While not yet announcing an opening date, Sinner said the Entertainment Committee for the Friends of the Goss is booking shows for the Opera House for April through September.

“Just a year ago, the Friends of the Goss was a small group of individuals working to save the Goss from demolition,” said Carter. “Now, the number of people who are actively engaged in helping to bring this treasure back to downtown Watertown has grown into the thousands. We live in a pretty amazing place.”