By Kathy Collins

Hillsborough County’s Capital Asset Preservation (CAP) Matching Grant Program, which was established last year, provides annual funding for specific capital improvement projects within Hillsborough County. The CAP program accomplishes its mission by preserving community capital assets. The funds must be used for repair, rehabilitation and restoration of existing facilities; compatible additions that will improve the facilities’ cultural, educational or recreational offerings for the community; or energy efficiency upgrades.

The inaugural recipients of the CAP program for 2016 are the Tampa Theatre, the Florida Aquarium, the Lowry Park Zoo, the Straz Center for the Performing Arts and the Tampa Bay History Center. Each organization will receive $325,000, and each will do something different and unique with the grant funding.

The Tampa Theatre will use the funds for a basement dewatering system and facility restorations. “We are grateful to Kevin Beckner and the Board of County Commissioners for creating a grant program that supports the capital investments required to keep our facilities stable and secure, and funds projects that will increase energy efficiency and reduce future operating costs,” said Tampa Theatre President and CEO, John Bell. “This forward-thinking approach allows us to systematically address infrastructure projects before they become critical and, consequently, more expensive,” added Bell.

The Straz Center for the Performing Arts will use the funds to help upgrade original sound and projection systems in their theatres. ‘We are grateful for this support from Hillsborough County. It will allow us to keep pace with the many technological advances that are imperative to the artistic programming here at the Straz Center,” said Lorrin Shepard, Chief Operating Officer for the Straz Center.

The Florida Aquarium will use the program funds for design and construction of the Rising Tide Expansion. The Tampa Bay History Center will use the program funds for LED gallery lighting, a louvered metal roof system and sprinkler system, and repairing floors and grouting. Finally, the Lowry Park Zoological Society of Tampa will use the program funds for the manatee facility renovations and enhancements.

Each of the five inaugural recipients of the Hillsborough County Capital Asset Preservation Matching Grant Program are unique and help to drive Hillsborough County’s economic engine.

For more information, please visit www.hillsboroughcounty.org.