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Coyle event: Last picture show?

| Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012, 12:02 a.m.
File photo Coyle Theater in Charleroi

Inside the 121-year-old Coyle Theater is plenty of cinematography history.

The theater, closed since 1999, contains vintage movie posters ranging from Cecil B. DeMille's 1952 film “Greatest Show on Earth” to classic Disney films.

There are also film trailers, 35 millimeter deco aluminum reels, standing lobby advertisers and plenty of other equipment.

These items from the Charleroi-based theater's past may provide one of the last opportunities to raise the money needed to save it.

A Coyle memorabilia sale will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 24 at Southwestern Pennsylvania Human Services in Charleroi. The goal is to raise much-needed money to provide a local match toward $425,000 in county and state grants, which the Mon Valley Cultural Trust is in danger of losing.

All profits will be used for the Coyle Theater Restoration Project to continue in its efforts to rehabilitate the theater, said Charleroi Mayor Nancy Ellis, a member of the trust.

A local appraiser is taking inventory, cataloging, pricing and accumulating the items for the sale.

Ellis said the items are still being evaluated, so she is unsure how much can be raised.

The trust needs to raise funds to match Local Share Account grants totaling $175,000 as well as a state grant of $250,000. The county grant would expire by end of the year if not matched.

The state grant would expire by the end of May.

Ellis said the trust is looking at other options for raising money, but would not elaborate.

If the grants expire, the trust could find it difficult to be considered for future grants.

“It is my understanding that the status of the original Washington County Local Share grant that was awarded to the Mid Mon Valley Cultural Trust over five years ago is currently ‘on hold' until they can meet the matching dollar requirement that is part of the LSA guidelines established by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development,” said Jeff Kotula, chairman of the Washington County Local Share Review Committee.

“To my knowledge, if they do not meet the matching requirement by the end of this year, the original grant award could revert back into the program and could be used for other project needs. Personally, I would like the monies to remain in the Mon Valley and be utilized for a project that brings jobs to local families or improves water/sewage in the Valley, but that may be out of our control as the DCED will most likely will need to be consulted.”

The trust has a request for additional Local Share funding before the board. A final decision on any new funds will be made after the trust's end-of-year deadline.

“While I have not had the opportunity to review that application yet, the LSA Review Committee does place a strong emphasis on a history of successful results when a organization reapplies for additional dollars through this fund,” Kotula said. “These dollars are meant to be on the field creating job opportunities, attracting business investment and improving infrastructure, not sitting on the sidelines.”

Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or