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Ossining Group Raising Money To Restore Opera House

An Ossining group is aiming to restore the Olive Opera House.
An Ossining group is aiming to restore the Olive Opera House. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Dennis Kirby
Dennis Kirby and Wayne Spector, the duo behind grOw Ossining.
Dennis Kirby and Wayne Spector, the duo behind grOw Ossining. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Dennis Kirby

OSSINING, N.Y. -- A historic opera house could be the ticket to luring thousands of visitors to the village of Ossining.

Wayne Spector and Dennis Kirby are behind grOw Ossining, an investment fund, that aims to purchase and restore the historic Olive Opera House on Main Street and turn into a gathering space like a restaurant or an entertainment venue.

The purchase would be funded by Ossining residents, and Spector and Kirby are looking at raising $2.5 million.

"We thought Ossining was the type of community that could come together and participate in a project that could jump-start the revitalization and redevelopment of the village," Spector, who formed the group with Kirby 14 months ago, said.

The duo said a gathering place in Ossining could benefit the village like Paramount Hudson Valley in Peekskill, the Tarrytown Musical, the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, The Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville and the Emelin Theater in Mamaroneck.

"These bring people into the center of the village and attract thousands of visitors a year," Kirby said. "This spills over into restaurants and retail shopping."

Spector said while the village has seen increased residential development, Main Street could see a boost.

"We want Main Street to be a walking destination for people," Spector said. "You want to see redevelopment there. The riverfront will happen anyway, it doesn't need us."

Spector said he thinks Ossining is the perfect place for a project like this. At a recent fundraiser, the group raised $37,700.

"This is a community that gives freely," Spector said. "This is a community that would buy into this project and having a stake in the project. We've gotten positive feedback and ideas from people."

When Spector and Kirby discovered the Olive Opera House, they knew it would be the right fit.

"So many people didn't know it existed," Spector said. "It could be the type of space where you could house a performance and also a restaurant or bar or catering company. There are so many  possibilities."

For more information on the grOw Ossining, visit http://growossining.snappages.com/home

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