Hopewell dedicates accessibility ramp

Hopewell Theatre will dedicate its new accessibility ramp on Friday before the opening performance of David Lindsay-Abaire’s “Rabbit Hole.”

The ramp is the first step in transforming the former church built in the 1890s into a fully ADA-accessible site.

The project was delayed for two years by the COVID-19 pandemic, and work started in 2022. In addition to community support, funding came from a $22,300 Shuttered Venues Operator Grant through the Small Business Administration.

The lead gift for the ramp was funded by Marlene Strollo, a former Hopewell board member and longtime supporter. The ramp will be dedicated in memory of Dominic M. and Evelyn F. Menaldi.

Following its reopening in 2022, Hopewell Theatre has become a major center for local arts and community theater. In addition to its own productions, Hopewell has partnered with Lit Youngstown, The Millennial Theatre Company, Ohio Nonviolence Week and the Mahoning Valley Historical Society on events.

Plans are underway for an accessible restroom on the building’s main floor. Bathrooms currently are not accessible.

The dedication ceremony will start at 6:30 p.m. Friday at the theater, 702 Mahoning Ave., Youngstown.

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