WARREN Officials discuss plans for Packard Music Hall

Packard officials have until June 30 to map out a financial plan for the music hall.
WARREN -- Officials working to keep Packard Music Hall afloat are considering establishing an advisory committee and nonprofit foundation to help with planning.
City council agreed to help fund the hall for six months this year by giving $75,000.
The second half of the year will be funded for the same amount, officials have said, if Packard Band Trustees come up with a plan to alleviate the cash-strapped city's annual subsidy, which has been waning in recent years.
A steering committee of trustees, city and music hall officials and Dr. David Allen, dean of Kent State University Trumbull Campus, has met for a few months to discuss the hall's finances and marketability.
There were two public meetings last month to gauge the community's interest in the city-owned hall and to begin detailing its future.
Discussion has included using the hall for banquets, wedding receptions, art displays, concerts, plays, athletic events and more. A partnership with KSUTC is also possible and could solve some funding problems, trustees say. Trustee John Bentz said the group also plans to lobby Gov. Bob Taft for funding.
Considering foundation: On Monday, the steering committee said it's considering establishing a foundation that would raise money for the hall and an advisory committee to help with planning.
"We really haven't tackled what our mission's going to be," Chris Stephenson, music hall manager, said.
In addition to future funding and programming, trustees must decide how to conquer major capital improvements and whether changes need to be made on the structure of the board, appointed by Mayor Hank Angelo.
Allen told the committee too many trustees, committees and advisers will inhibit the hall's operation.
The committee is working with Olsavsky-Jaminet Architects of Youngstown and ArtSpace Design Ltd. in Newark for planning.
Jeffrey Gress, ArtSpace's theatrical consultant, has said he'll wait until he has a signed contract, outlining pay, to continue working with the committee.
Money from trust fund: Judge Thomas Swift of Trumbull County Probate Court oversees the band's trust fund established by the Packard family. He's expected to rule soon on a request to free up $30,000 from the trust to help pay for consultation and related fees
Councilman Alford Novak, D-2nd, said he doesn't want to see the hall close and noted the city might want to pursue a parks levy or parks commission. The problem with the hall, he said, is that it competes with many similar facilities in the area.

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