Members of the public were able to meet Kevin Clark of Clark Architects in Lincoln and hear possible plans for the Warren Opera House renovation Nov. 3.
The Friend Historical Society hosted an open house that took place in the San Carlo Room. Attendees were able to hear from Clark, who presented a few layouts and answered questions regarding construction plans of the venue. He also welcomed input from the community.
“Our desired goal is to have this be a place anyone can use,” Clark said. “We’re going to be going out and meeting people, asking, ‘What does it take to come to Friend?’”
Clark hopes local high schools and colleges use the opera house as a music performance destination. It could also be used for work parties and events.
He went through the steps Clark Architects will take as the project advances, like site analysis and working and reworking layouts.
“We need your help with this,” Clark said, telling the crowd they will have a hand in picking the types of chairs and more.
Preston Meints, financial advisor for Edward Jones in Friend, reviewed potential financial options as funding on the project gets going.
Meints listed qualified charitable distributions as an option for the community to think about.
A QCD is a charitable distribution that does not get taxed like a typical IRA withdrawal.
Amanda Ward with the Nebraska Department of Economic Development also spoke about the state’s Community Development Assistance Act (CDAA). According to the DED website, a CDAA “allows for a 40% tax credit to be distributed to businesses that make cash contributions or provide services and materials to approved community betterment projects.”
Tax credit options were also reviewed at the meeting. Tours of the opera house were also offered and attendees were able to list ideas and feedback.
“You guys are looking to the future. No one’s looking back,” Clark said.