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WARREN Council holds fate of hall's finances



Published: Fri, June 29, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The music hall is asking the city for $80,000 to finish out the year.

By AMANDA C. DAVIS

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

WARREN -- Chris Stephenson is confident he can double revenues at W.D. Packard Music Hall if given the chance.

The music hall manager tried to persuade city council's finance committee and officials Thursday to continue supporting the hall until it can get back on its feet.

If plans come to fruition, he said, revenues in 2005 would be about $201,000.

That would come from hall rentals, catering, concessions, a gift shop and ticket and beverage sales.

To make that possible, Packard Band trustees, music hall officials and others have plans to seek a liquor license, establish a nonprofit foundation and build a box office.

The city agreed to help fund the hall for the first six months of this year, kicking in $75,000.

Trustees and music hall personnel were given a June 30 deadline to come up with a plan to eventually become self-sufficient.

If that happens, the city has said it would contribute another $75,000 to finish out the year.

Stephenson, however, is asking for $80,000, and council will soon decide whether to approve that request.

Support: Councilman Bob Marchese, D-at large, urged fellow lawmakers to grant the $80,000.

Mayor Hank Angelo told Stephenson and trustees their presentation was excellent, saying, "You've done a wonderful job."

Stephenson said the music hall is the only city department not assigned to a council committee.

Establishing that committee would ensure the city is kept abreast of music hall matters, he said.

Dr. David Allen, dean of Kent State University Trumbull Campus, is working with trustees to see if there's a way the campus can help out, possibly through a partnership.

Architects and a consultant are also on board to map out capital improvements that will be part of the group's short- and long-term plans.

Interior and exterior improvements are needed and will cost an estimated $9 million, they say.

Stephenson said he's not asking the city to come up with that money, but says the music hall can't make a turnaround without some support.




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