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Inspectors say rigging system can be fixed



Published: Tue, August 14, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Temporary repairs will suffice, an architect says.

WARREN -- Performers on stage at Packard Music Hall can relax now that officials have found the structure to be in better shape than previously thought.

A rigging system above the stage was thought to have deteriorated but an architect notes a thorough inspection says otherwise.

Douglas Abbatiello, an architect with Olsavsky Jaminet Architects of Youngstown, is working with trustees on capital improvements.

Professionals who know the ins and outs of stage construction consulted with Abbatiello and say temporary repairs will do the trick for now.

He gave a report Monday for a steering committee of music hall officials and trustees.

The report: Tuning up the system will cost just under $16,000, the architect says. A new stage rigging system is estimated to cost more than $450,000.

Overhead cables were fraying and rubbing together, causing metal shavings to fall on the stage, officials said, but a union representing stagehands took care of the problem.

Abbatiello said the stage is safe now and will be in better shape once repairs are complete.

"It's much less of an emergency than we thought," he said.

Architects will get a second opinion from another professional firm before moving ahead with repairs.

Also Monday, trustee chairman John Bentz said he thinks the music hall should soon begin focusing on programming.

Some ideas: Booking good shows will tell city council the music hall is serious about weaning itself off the city's cash-strapped general fund.

The Rev. F. Robert Williams, a Packard trustee, said he believes the annual Fourth of July celebration in Packard Park should be expanded to increase revenue. The event now includes fireworks and a Packard Band performance.

The Rev. Mr. Williams said revenues would be boosted if the celebration was more like a festival, with rides and vendors.




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