NEW BEDFORD (WBSM) — The Massachusetts State Legislature has approved the supplemental budget that includes $4 million to bolster the expansion and upgrading of New Bedford’s Zeiterion Performing Arts Center.

The legislation is now headed for Governor Maura Healey’s desk for her signature.

The $4 million going toward the Zeiterion is part of the $30-plus million renovation that is already closed in preparation for construction.

“We are elated that the state Legislature included this appropriation,” said Rosemary Gill, president and CEO of the Zeiterion.

“It is a major milestone in proceeding with our transformative renovation project, which is critical for our patrons and artists, for the students who benefit from our arts education programs and for the residents of greater New Bedford," Gill said. "While we still have more funds to secure, we are elated by the Commonwealth’s commitment and are one step closer to making this new space a reality for our region.”

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Sen. Mark Montigny (D-New Bedford) has been a longtime supporter of the Zeiterion, first as a trustee and later working to get money appropriated for the theater, including securing the $4 million in the closeout budget.

“The Z is a historic treasure and an invaluable part of our city’s arts and cultural renaissance,” Montigny said.. “The major renovations underway will bring our downtown cultural scene to the next level, and I am especially thankful to Senate Ways and Means Chairman Mike Rodrigues for supporting this critical project.”

The New Bedford City Council recently approved a 99-year lease for the Zeiterion building, which is owned by the City. A lengthy lease enables investors to benefit from historic preservation tax credits, the Z said in a release.

“This support inspires us to continue working hard to see this project through to completion,” Gill said. “The arts are vital to the economy of New Bedford and this region, and this project will ensure the Zeiterion’s place as a center of arts performances and education long into the future.”

A Behind-the-Scenes Tour of New Bedford's Zeiterion Theater

The historic Zeiterion Theater in New Bedford recently held some free behind-the-scenes tours before the non-profit performing arts center embarks on a $32 million restoration project to redo the interiors of the building and add a new marquee.

Gallery Credit: Tim Weisberg/Townsquare Media

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