Visitors to the Packard Music Hall spend about $18.37 in addition to the cost of admission for the events there. It breaks down to $9.23 for food and beverages, $2.67 for transportation, $2.41 for souvenirs and gifts, $1.17 for lodging and $2.89 for other stuff.
That ancillary spending translates into jobs - about 900 or so when combining all of the arts and cultural attractions in the Mahoning Valley.
Those statistics were released this week by the Americans for the Arts, which conducted a study funded by the Raymond John Wean and Youngstown foundations.
The data prompted Warren Mayor Doug Franklin to endorse the city's annual subsidy to Packard. He pointed out that arts, such as the events at the music hall, provide an economic benefit.
''If we were to lose the music hall to budget shortfalls, we would lose revenue and residents,'' Franklin said. ''The study underscores that.''
The mayor, and many others probably, still misunderstands those who have for years called for the city to end its Packard subsidy. Most years, Warren budgets $250,000 for the music hall but ends up forking over about $400,000. Divided by the few jobs Packard supports (the study didn't specify how many of the 900-some jobs were created by each of the arts venues), it's really not a good payoff in light of there being alternatives.
The main concept missed is that eliminating the subsidy in no way results in closing Packard. In fact, it's just the opposite.
Removing the subsidy while allowing a bigger role from the private sector could actually transform Packard back into the cultural center that it once was. Giving its operators a guaranteed crutch, on the other hand, de-incentivizes any drive for success. So the study actually underscores the importance of Warren eliminating all, or at least most, of its Packard subsidy and allowing the private sector to breath new life into the facility.
The money could then be redirected to roads, safety, arts-based development to replace demolished properties in run-down neighborhoods, and other services that help prop up a thriving cultural quality of life.
Along with the study's economic impact data came another message from Americans for the Arts and the local Power of the Arts. That message is the value of collaboration.
In Warren, for example, Packard Music Hall, the Warren Community Amphitheatre, Main Street Warren, the Fine Arts Council of Trumbull County, the Downtown Warren Events and Promotions Council and maybe even others should collaborate to share a single director responsible for each organization's events.
To facilitate this we call upon the study's funders, especially the Wean Foundation, which is committed to downtown Warren. They saw value in commissioning the study. They should also see the waste in allowing its findings to fall on deaf ears.