MONMOUTH  — U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree says a new federal grant moves the seasonal Theater at Monmouth closer to a year-round operation.

The $75,000 rural development grant from the Department of Agriculture will help restore a grange hall used as a dining hall and rehearsal space for the resident actors. Because of the high cost to heat it, the building could only be used in the summer.

Theater at Monmouth Producing Director David Greenham says renovations that include weatherization and a new foundation mean the building can be kept open all year and used for weddings, receptions and public suppers.

Greenham said the project also moves forward a plan to establish the theater as a year-round creative center.