Posted Thursday, August 26th, 2010

The Morris County Freeholders on Aug. 26 presented the Growing Stage Theatre for Young Audiences of Netcong with a Historic Preservation plaque to mark the completion of the first phase of the restoration of the theatre’s front façade.

The project was made possible with the assistance of a grant of nearly $127,000 from the Morris County Historic Preservation Trust Fund.

Built in 1919 as the Palace Theater, the venue was an entertainment landmark for 50 years before falling on hard times and becoming a warehouse in 1981. The structure’s historical significance also stems from the fact that except for the main facade, the theater building is constructed of poured concrete.

The Growing Stage purchased the building in 1995 and began raising money to fund extensive renovations to the structure, which has once again become a performing arts center.

Freeholder Director Gene Feyl praised the Growing Stage’s Board of Directors for its efforts to restore the theater, to nurture the development of the arts and to energize downtown Netcong.

The freeholders recently awarded the Growing Stage an additional construction grant of $215,296 to restore the front entrance, former storefronts, the marquee and the building’s cornice.