WARREN Legal issue delays plans for Packard

Can the music hall operate without the city's help? That's what officials are working toward.
WARREN -- Packard Band trustees have hit a snag in the face of a June 30 deadline to draft a financial plan for the operation of Packard Music Hall.
Trustees voted Thursday to approve a $5,225 payment to a consultant, pending approval by city Law Director Greg Hicks, who was not at the meeting, and Judge Thomas Swift of Trumbull County Probate Court.
Hicks said he has no objection to the payment, which would come from Packard Band trust fund. He was to sign the paperwork and have it to Judge Swift by today.
Trust fund: The judge oversees the trust fund, set aside by the Packard family and administered by Key Bank Corp.
Planning is being held up because the judge conducted hearings to determine if $30,000 should be freed to pay for the consultant and other things.
He said he may issue a ruling next week. He wants time to review information about how the money will be used.
In the works: Trustees and officials from Kent State University Trumbull Campus are working with Olsavsky-Jaminet Architects of Youngstown and ArtSpace Design Ltd. in Newark to come up with a plan to show that the music hall can operate without the city's help.
Jeff Gress, ArtSpace's theatrical consultant, headed two meetings last month to get the community's input on uses for the music hall. He said he won't do further work until trustees present a contract outlining payment.
"I don't blame the consultant, because he just wants to know he'll be paid," Trustee Linda Metzendorf said. "We're just really anxious about the time frame."
Trustees have until June 30 to show the city the music hall can operate without a city subsidy.
City funding: The city agreed this year to help fund the hall for six months, giving $75,000. The second half of the year will be funded for the same amount if trustees can figure out how to eliminate in the future the city's share, which has been waning in recent years.
Trustees elected John Bentz president Thursday.

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