Goss restoration nears fundraising goal


As the capital campaign to restore downtown Watertown’s historic Goss Opera House enters the stretch run, donations from two community organizations put the multimillion dollar campaign just $500,000 shy from reaching its goal.

Friends of the Goss Opera House announced Thursday morning that both the Watertown Area Community Foundation (WACF) and Watertown Development Company have each made a second $150,000 donation to the restoration of the 130-year-old downtown landmark.

With the two latest grants, the “Light Up the Goss” capital campaign, which kicked off last June, now has raised $4.25 million. The campaign goal is $4.75 million.

“We are so close to our goal,” FoG Executive Director Missy Sinner said in a press release. “The community’s response has been beyond our imagination.”

With those donations now in hand, WACF Executive Director Jan DeBerg said an anonymous donor has offered a second grant of $250,000 provided the community can match it by March 15, which would complete the capital campaign. The anonymous donor made their first $250,000 grant last November, which was exceeded by the community before New Years Eve.

“It truly takes and entire community to do something as great as is being done here at the Goss,” DeBerg said. “We are honored to partner with the Friends of the Goss to ensure their success in bringing arts and entertainment to our community in this truly magical place.”

Donations can be made online at thegossoperahouse.com or by calling Sinner at 605-868-1556.

Since FoG purchased the Goss 13 months ago, the 130-year-old building’s restoration has included a roof replacement, an overhaul of the HVAC and electrical systems and leasing out all but one rentable spaces. Businesses in the Goss include the currently open Coco & Finn clothing store and Grace Dance Academy and the forthcoming Mavericks Steak and Cocktails restaurant.

Crews are currently installing a new sound and lighting system in the building’s signature second story opera hall,.

The renovated Goss is set to open its doors on Friday, April 24. The South Dakota Symphony Orchestra will hold the renovated building’s first concert that night. On the next night, Surfin’ Safari will play a concert featuring a mix of music from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.

Over the next six weeks, FoG officials said they plan to have an ongoing campaign featuring virtual tours of the Goss’ restoration and ticket giveaways to events.