Boiler repairs will save the hall money on gas bills.
By AMANDA C. DAVIS
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- Packard Band has agreed to kick in money to help make emergency repairs at its home.
About $4,000 in repairs need to be made to a boiler at W.D. Packard Music Hall, where the band plays.
Adone "Cal" Calderone, a member of the band and its executive secretary, agreed to give the $5,000 requested by music hall Manager Chris Stephenson, who said the financially struggling city cannot afford to chip in.
The decision was made at Thursday's Packard Board of Trustees meeting.
Funding for hall: The municipal music hall is funded in part by the city's general fund. The band is backed by a trust fund set up by the Packard Family, now worth more than $6 million.
Stephenson said he requested the extra $1,000 in case the need for additional repairs is discovered.
The problem is with manhole-type covers on the boiler that are letting steam escape.
"It will be interesting to see how this affects our gas bills," Stephenson explained.
Cherie Celedonia, the hall's assistant manager, said after the meeting that officials were told repairs would make the boiler more energy efficient, lowering the gas bill by a significant amount.
Calderone asked the board if the $4,000 could be a loan reimbursed by the city.
He said the band has expenses of its own but realizes the repairs are critical to the hall's operation.
"We can't play without heat, can we?" he joked.
Trustee chairman John Bentz said he doesn't think the request for money is excessive and noted the band will finish the year within budget, likely carrying over some money.
Stephenson said he discussed the need for the emergency repairs with the city, which said it didn't have the money to give.
City council recently agreed to help fund the hall for the second part of the year.
It initially kicked in money for the first half, saying the rest was contingent upon music hall officials and trustees coming up with a financial and marketing plan to make the hall self-sustaining.
The plan, presented to council in recent months, includes provisions to establish a foundation to raise funds, secure a liquor permit and build a ticketing office.