City attorney donates new time capsule
PUNTA GORDA — A bevy of prominent citizens, including a Charlotte High School junior who’d just won the Miss Punta Gorda pageant, will be saying “hello from 1987” to modern-day residents, through the items they placed in a time capsule 25 years ago.
The capsule, which contains photos, tools, pictures and other mementos, was entombed as part of the city’s centennial celebration in 1987. It will be opened Nov. 29 as part of the city’s 125th anniversary celebration.
And, thanks to a donation of more than $600 by City Attorney David Levin, of the firm Icard Merrill, the capsule will be replaced by a better one to be opened as part of the city’s 150th anniversary, said Councilwoman Rachel Keesling, chairwoman of the Punta Gorda 125th planning committee.
His donation was announced Wednesday, just as the event’s planners were poised to request city funds for the capsule.
“I have enjoyed being a part of the redevelopment of the city following Hurricane Charley,” Levin said. “It’s rare that I have an opportunity to give back to the city something of a tangible nature to show my appreciation.”
He said he also expects to be around in another 25 years, when the new capsule gets opened.
Keesling called the donation “huge.”
“I’m very appreciative of the donation, because trying to put on an event these days in which finances are tight is difficult,” Keesling said.
A new capsule will be required because the old one didn’t hold up so well, Keesling advised her council Wednesday.
“The last was supposed to last 50 years, and we (excavated it) in 25 and it didn’t make it,” she said.
The old one had been fashioned out of a PVC tube filled with gas. It was encased in a concrete monument. Water infiltrated the encasement area, she said.
She briefed the council Wednesday on her committee’s decision to purchase a new capsule for $580, plus a preservation kit for $69. This capsule also is to be attached to a wall near a city seal in the City Hall annex, to keep it out of the elements, according to City Manager Howard Kunik.
According to a 1987 newspaper clipping, the capsule had been scheduled to be opened in 50 years by Anna Gauta, 17, who then was Miss Punta Gorda of 1987.
An official list of the contents placed in the capsule included one item titled “Surprise for Miss Punta Gorda.”
Attempts to contact Gauta for comment were unsuccessful.
Those involved in the 100th celebration, which entailed events held throughout 1987, include Gussie Baker, who is organizing the time capsule opening ceremony. Baker said she is inviting a number of VIPs to escort the capsule via antique firetruck from its tomb at City Hall to a luncheon at the Charlotte Harbor Event and Conference Center.
The luncheon is to include entertainment by the Dickens Singers.
Some sponsors who book special tables for a dinner to be held later that evening will get to place items in the new capsule, Keesling said.