PACKARD Packard Hall gets federal funding

The money will go to the Riverwalk and Packard museum and music hall.
WARREN -- Almost $4 million in federal funds will be spent on entertainment, recreation and museum improvements along Mahoning Avenue.
In a news conference Thursday afternoon in front of the W.D. Packard Music Hall, U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Niles, D-17th, presented local officials with a giant mock check for $3.95 million. The real money will come from a highway bill that was recently passed by Congress and signed by President Bush.
Of that total, $1 million will go to expand the National Packard Museum so it can display more historical vehicles; $1.2 million will be used for engineering and land acquisition for extension of The Riverwalk, which now follows the Mahoning River from the downtown log cabin to Summit Street; and the remainder will go for facilities improvements to the Music Hall.
Last year, visitors to the Packard museum came from 47 states and 17 nations, said Atty. Charles Ohlin, museum board president.
Work is to begin on all three projects next year, said Mayor Michael O'Brien.
O'Brien said the city intends to extend The Riverwalk pedestrian and bicycle trail to Packard Park and connect it to the Lake-to-River Greenway, a bicycle trail that will eventually extend from Lake Erie to the Ohio River.
The money for Packard Music Hall will go for heating, ventilating and air conditioning improvements, and improvements in its lobby, stage rigging, pit elevator and dressing rooms.
"We've had additional programming at Packard Music Hall this past year, and this will further enhance that," the mayor said.

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