The agreement will allow the facility to use a $500,000 state grant for improvements to its property, provided it remains a cultural center for 10 years.
CLEARWATER — The city is being asked to enter into a restricted covenant with Ruth Eckerd Hall, Inc. so the facility can utilize a $500,000 state Division of Cultural Affairs grant.
The agreement requires Ruth Eckerd Hall to be used as a cultural center for 10 years from the effective date of the grant, which officials plan to spend on improvements to the Murray Studio Theater on the McMullen-Booth Road property.
Felicia Leonard, administrative support manager for the city's parks and recreation department, explained the agreement to the city council during its workshop on Monday.
“Ruth Eckerd Hall received the same matching grant that we did for the Capitol Theatre for the Murray Studio at the main campus of Ruth Eckerd Hall on McMullen-Booth,” she said.
“Since we own the property, we're required to sign a restrictive covenant as part of that grant, and so that basically says that we have to continue to use the facility for the next 10 years as a cultural facility.”
Leonard also explained what would happen should the property cease to be used as a cultural facility at any time during the decade-long agreement.
“If we don't continue to use it, for any reason, in the next 10 years as a cultural facility, then the city would be liable, in part, to pay back the state the $500,000 for the Murray Studio.”
According to city documents, such reimbursement would be required on a decreasing graduated basis, and a lien could be placed on the property until the money was repaid.
No council members asked questions prior to consenting to the agenda item, paving the way for its approval during their regular meeting tonight.