The Herzfeld Foundation is giving a $500,000 grant to the Milwaukee Repertory Theater to help pay for repairs to its sinking building northeast of Wells Street and the Milwaukee River in downtown Milwaukee.
"This extraordinary grant from The Herzfeld Foundation will provide much needed resources toward the costs to repair our building's foundation ensuring that our award-winning education programs and inspiring productions will continue for decades to come," said Milwaukee Repertory Theater's Managing Director Chad Bauman. "The Rep is a critical part of our vibrant cultural community," said Bill Haberman, president of The Herzfeld Foundation. "We need to preserve and sustain it."
The Rep's historic building, which unites all of its production shops, theaters and administrative offices, is settling. The original portion of the building, dating back to 1897, is supported by hundreds of wooden pilings, which have begun to deteriorate. The deterioration began with a drop in the underground water table which exposed the wooden pilings making them susceptible to rot. The Rep says the settling of the building poses no threat to the public or its employees, but a permanent fix to the problem is needed.
With the Herzfeld Foundation grant, combined with a $250,000 grant from the United Performing Arts Fund and a $75,000 grant from the Bert L and Patricia S Steigleder Charitable Trust, along with contributions from several individuals, The Rep says it has secured commitments for more than 50 percent of the $1.75 million in total repair costs.
The Rep plans to begin construction to make the repairs this summer.