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Published On: Thu, Jul 18th, 2013

Geri Trautlein, Clearwater woman donates $1 million for Capitol Theatre restoration

Capitol Theatre in downtown Clearwater received a $1 million gift to help fund restoration Wednesday.

The theater may be 92 years old, but it received the largest single gift so far to the restoration of the city-owned theater, which is managed by Ruth Eckerd Hall. Geri Trautlein donated $1 million to the project.

Capitol Theater on Cleveland Street in Clearwater, Florida will be getting the facelift it needs, thanks to a generous donation photo Mikereichold via wikimedia commons

Capitol Theater on Cleveland Street in Clearwater, Florida will be getting the facelift it needs, thanks to a generous donation photo Mikereichold via wikimedia commons

The city of Clearwater budgeted more than $7 million for the project, but the gift allows Ruth Eckerd Hall to meet its obligations, which include having an emergency fund and creating an endowment for the theater.

Plans include renovation of the adjacent Lokey building, which will eventually be converted into a grand lobby, concession areas, and restrooms for the theatre. When completed, the 655-seat Capitol will become a venue at which Ruth Eckerd Hall will present all genres of live entertainment, including jazz, classical artists, pop music acts, film, dance and other diverse national, regional and local acts.

Ray Trautlein, Geri’s late husband, founded LEM Products, a company that manufactured label products

The Trautleins “have a long emotional history with the Capitol Theatre,” Zev Buffman, president and CEO of Ruth Eckerd Hall Inc said.

Trautlein said she knew her gift was something her late husband would appreciate, according to the Tampa Bay Times. “He always wanted that building,” said Trautlein, 86.

Buffman also said the theater will help the city’s downtown by serving as “an anchor” for its comeback.

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- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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