Monday, April 23, 2018
News Roundup

Clearwater officials are okay with exterior balcony for Capitol Theatre

CLEARWATER — Now that downtown's Capitol Theatre is about to be renovated, those in charge of it want to add just one more thing: an exterior second-floor balcony where people can sit outside and socialize.

On Thursday night, City Council members said okay, but the approval is just for the historic theater. They aren't eager to see second-floor balconies cropping up on businesses all over Clearwater.

Ruth Eckerd Hall, which operates the city-owned theater, is about to start a major renovation and expansion of the Capitol that will take most of next year.

At this point, there's been no official request for a balcony at the Capitol. In order to allow it, the city will have to make a change to its land-use codes. The balcony idea will have to traverse the city's bureaucracy before it can become a reality.

But city staffers first wanted to make sure the City Council would even entertain the idea of a balcony.

The balcony would wrap around the corner of Cleveland Street and further south down Osceola Avenue. Most council members didn't have a problem with it, although they want to make sure that supporting pillars underneath the balcony won't block the sidewalk.

"I think it's fabulous," said council member Doreen Hock-DiPolito.

One concern is that other Clearwater businesses might want balconies too — particularly on Clearwater Beach, where property is at a premium.

"We've been asked to have this on the beach," said city Planning Director Michael Delk. "If anything is allowed, it will be attempted on the beach — where we have constricted rights-of-way, where we have limited sidewalk area."

With that in mind, the council is likely to allow a balcony only at the Capitol.

Council member Bill Jonson opposed the balcony, saying it would change the nature of the historic building too much. But other council members thought the balcony could make a nice gathering spot during downtown events.

The council was confused by a rendering that Ruth Eckerd provided to the city and the Tampa Bay Times. The drawing is not done to scale and makes it appear as if only a few people could gather on the balcony.

In reality, the proposed balcony would be 8 feet wide and would hold a standing capacity of 180 people, said Parks and Recreation Director Kevin Dunbar, who's been communicating with Ruth Eckerd Hall. Another 170 could gather on a rooftop terrace.

The balcony would be 10 feet above ground, with a six-foot-wide walkway between its supporting pillars and the Capitol Theatre's exterior wall.

"It's still a work in progress," Dunbar said.

For decades a cinema and playhouse, the Capitol Theatre was closed when the city bought it and handed it over to Ruth Eckerd Hall. Since it reopened under Ruth Eckerd's management, it has seen record-breaking growth, with more than 100 events a year, including sold-out shows.

The $7 million renovation will merge the theater with two smaller buildings on either side of it and expand the seating from 485 to nearly 750.

Mike Brassfield can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 445-4151. To write a letter to the editor, go to tampabay.com/letters.

Comments
Former Rays pitcher Danny Farquhar “progressing well’ after surgery

Former Rays pitcher Danny Farquhar “progressing well’ after surgery

As former teammates with the Rays and throughout baseball share thoughts and prayers, RHP Danny Farquhar is "progressing well" in a Chicago hospital after suffering a hemorrhage caused by a brain aneurysm on Friday.The White Sox on Monday released th...
Updated: 3 hours ago

High school scoreboard for April 23

Monday’s scoreboardBaseballCanterbury 10, Citrus Park Christian 0Northeast 12, Countryside 5
Updated: 3 hours ago
Man faces first-degree murder charge in 2017 death of woman

Man faces first-degree murder charge in 2017 death of woman

TAMPA — A 68-year-old man was arrested Monday on a first-degree murder charge, according to Tampa police.Officers took James Leon Jackson into custody at 2712 W Nassau St. in west Tampa at about 1 p.m. A warrant for his arrest had been issued Friday....
Updated: 3 hours ago
A new museum will honor America’s lynching victims, including those killed in Tampa Bay

A new museum will honor America’s lynching victims, including those killed in Tampa Bay

In May 1914, a Hernando County grand jury decided not to indict John Davis, a black man accused of attempting to assault a white woman in a hotel. But days after he was released from the Citrus County jail, Davis’s body was found beaten with a ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Alex Cobb and Logan Morrison have ex-Ray vision. Here’s what they see.

Alex Cobb and Logan Morrison have ex-Ray vision. Here’s what they see.

ST. PETERSBURG — Absolutely, Alex Cobb was saying over the phone, it's going to be weird pitching Tuesday against the Rays.The organization that he owes so much for rearing him since high school, standing by him through assorted injuries, enabl...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Lottery resultsNumbers drawn after 9 p.m. are no longer available by our deadlines. For results, go to tampabay.com/lottery.Pick 2, 3, 4, 5Mon., April 23, midday:40 874 5140e_SRit69262Mon., April 23, evening:76 974 2849e_SRit78236Fantasy 5Mon., April...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Waffle House slaying suspect arrested; veteran receives world’s most extensive penis transplant; more in U.S. news

Waffle House slaying suspect arrested; veteran receives world’s most extensive penis transplant; more in U.S. news

TennesseeWaffle House slaying suspect arrestedThe mentally unstable white gunman suspected of killing four people and wounding more at a diverse Nashville Waffle House was arrested near his apartment Monday, authorities said. Police and federal agent...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Armenia’s leader quits amid protests; van driver kills 10 in Toronto; more in world news

Armenia’s leader quits amid protests; van driver kills 10 in Toronto; more in world news

ArmeniaLeader quits: ‘I was wrong’Ten days of demonstrations forced the resignation Monday of the man who has led post-Soviet Armenia since 2008. The unexpected resignation prompted the jubilation of tens of thousands in capital Yerevan’s Republic Sq...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Deputies find parents who fled with newborn; 1-month-old is safe

Deputies find parents who fled with newborn; 1-month-old is safe

TAMPA — The 1-month-old infant reported missing Monday was found hours later about 300 miles north in Quincy, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.Sage Cooper was reported to be unharmed, officials said, and Gadsden County sheriff’s ...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Saudi-led airstrike at Yemen wedding killed at least 20

SANAA, Yemen — An airstrike by the Saudi-led coalition hit a wedding party in northern Yemen, killing at least 20 people including the bride, health officials said Monday, as harrowing images emerged on social media of the deadly bombing, the third t...
Updated: 5 hours ago