The restoration of the Howell Opera House is an on-going mission of the Livingston Arts Council.
A hardware store was the last commercial business that occupied the first floor of the building before the Livingston Arts Council purchased it in 2000.
After taking ownership, a well-developed Masterplan was completed followed by a successful fundraising campaign for the renovation of the entire first floor supported by grants from Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and HUD, along with generous donations from the community. The first floor renovation was completed in 2006.
Another fundraising effort was held in 2008 to replace the roof on the historic building as well as the east adjacent building.
With the full renovation of the first floor completed, the organization is moving forward in its effort to restore the upper floors to full operational capacity within the next several years.
The Livingston Arts Council established a marketing strategy, Restore the Glory, to help identify and promote the restoration phases. A logo and brochure was developed to assist in the branding. Moving forward, fundraising directly established for restoration will be coordinated as a Restore the Glory campaign.
Restoring the opera house theater on the second floor is planned in phases over the next several years. In 2013, a generous donated gift of $60,000 was received from Thai Summit, a Howell-based automotive supplier, to restore the 22 original windows on the theater and balcony floors. The Window and Facade Restoration phase was completed in July, 2014 by Turner Restoration of Detroit. The painting of the exterior fleur-de-lis architectural accents, each painted by hand in gold and black, was included in this phase.