Sarasota Opera has received The Florida Trust for Historic Preservation Award at the 32nd Annual Statewide Preservation Conference in Ft. Myers. The Opera was recognized for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Restoration/Rehabilitation for its $20-million renovation of the 1926 historic Opera House in 2008.
The application process was lengthy. Sarasota Opera was required to submit five letters of support from community members and groups, photos depicting the scope of the work that was done, as well as a two-page statement describing the motivation for the project, obstacles and challenges met, community involvement, project budget, and the site plan/description of the project.
In his letter, County Commissioner Joseph Barbetta called Sarasota Opera and its programs and facilities “cornerstones of the cultural life of the community,” while Don Smally, President of the Board of the Sarasota Alliance for Historic Preservation, referred to the project as “an outstanding renovation.”
Sarasota Opera Executive Director Susan T. Danis praised those who participated in the project. “It is an honor indeed for the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation to award our beloved opera house its 2010 award for Outstanding Achievement in Rehabilitation and Restoration,” she said. “This project was truly a labor of love for so many and it certainly would not have been accomplished without the generosity of our opera patrons and the commitment of the Opera Board of Trustees, its Building Committee and Staff and the incredible group of architects, contractors, engineers and artisans that were assembled to make the renovation a reality.”
Preservation architect Killis Almond, who led the project, traveled to Ft. Myers to join staff members attending the award ceremony. “Recognition by the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation is extremely gratifying,” he said. “To a preservationist like myself, I consider it the highest honor.”
The award was presented May 14 at ceremonies held at the Edison Park Elementary School in Ft. Myers and was followed by a reception at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates.