Press Release

At Gillibrand’s Urging, $1.5 Million In Rural Development Funds Awarded To Hudson Opera House

Nov 3, 2014

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced a $1,500,000 loan for the Hudson Opera House in Columbia County. The funding was allocated through the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Development Community Facility Loan program and will be used to renovate the Hudson Opera House. Senator Gillibrand urged USDA Secretary Thomas Vilsack in May, to approve the funding for the Hudson Opera House.

“This is great news for Columbia County and for New York State,” said Senator Gillibrand. “As New York’s oldest surviving theater, the Hudson Opera House is a historic gem. This federal investment will help preserve the building and bring the opera house back to life, so that New Yorkers can enjoy all that the theater provides, for generations to come.”

“We are very grateful to the USDA for providing this support,” said Gary Schiro, Executive Director of the Hudson Opera House. “It is key to moving this vital community center towards rehabilitation. We are also especially grateful to Senator Gillibrand for supporting our application and providing valuable guidance to the Hudson Opera House at so many important steps along the way. Thanks also to Kinderhook Bank for their support and partnership as we put the pieces in place to move towards construction. These significant components of support are the building blocks we will leverage to deliver this historic venue back to the community.” 

The Hudson Opera House is New York State’s oldest surviving theater and the former Hudson City Hall. The theater provides thousands of free or low-cost cultural and educational programs which include: concerts, cultural and theatrical presentations, exhibitions as well as after school programs for students. The federal funding will be used to continue renovations of the second floor performance hall and backstage area, to create a 300-seat theater. Other repairs will be made to restore windows, mechanical systems and to construct a new elevator tower.  

USDA’s Rural Development Community Facilities Direct and Guaranteed Loan program provides financing to public entities such as municipalities and counties, as well as to non-profit corporations and tribal governments to develop essential community facilities in rural areas.

Full text of Senator Gillibrand’s letter to USDA Secretary of Agriculture is attached.