The state capital budget may be delayed several months, officials say.
By AMANDA C. DAVIS
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- Strong community support and the chance to energize the economy are good reasons for the state to consider Warren in its planning for the next capital budget.
That was the pitch given in Columbus this week where local officials went to tout plans for the Riverwalk and Robins Theater projects, expansion of National Packard Museum and upgrades at Packard Music Hall.
Lobbying Gov. Bob Taft's budget director and an assistant were Mayor Hank Angelo; city Auditor David Griffing; Mike Keys, director of Warren Redevelopment and Planning; Anthony Iannucci Jr., WRAP treasurer; Mary Ann Propri, National Packard Museum director; and Dave Hamilton, vice president of Trumbull 100.
They also met with state Rep. Tim Ryan of Niles, D-32nd; former Warren mayor Dan Sferra, now a state representative from Warren, D-66th; and state Rep. Anthony Latell Jr., of Girard, D-67th.
Angelo said a Taft aide commented that the presentation was one of the most comprehensive he's seen and that "he was quite impressed."
Seen as boost: The projects offer possibilities for long-term economic stimulus and marketability for the city, the mayor said. It also would provide a quick boost for area building trades lacking work, he added.
Keys said the capital budget will likely be delayed by several months, maybe until November, because of questions over education funding.
What's needed: The city needs about $2.5 million more to complete the approximately $4.8 million Riverwalk, which will include trails, walkways, an outdoor amphitheater, promenade and festival grounds, all along the Mahoning River.
An additional $5 million is needed to restore the Robins Theater downtown, which is expected to cost about $6.5 million, Keys said.
To expand the Packard museum, which opened in 1999, the city will need $2.5 million, and a wish list of improvements at the music hall will cost about $9 million.
Keys said the city asked for $10 million two years ago and received $2 million to do some work on the Riverwalk and Robins Theater.
"I felt better coming out of this meeting than I did two years ago," Keys said. "I just had better vibes."
Angelo said he, too, feels the state was receptive to the proposals.
The three biggest revenue-generating projects will be the Riverwalk amphitheater, the museum and the music hall, Angelo said, and those three will tie into plans the city has to link the historical district along Mahoning Avenue.
The mayor added the projects would not be possible without the cooperation of the community, businesses and organizations such as the nonprofit Trumbull 100.