LETTER: The two fold importance of saving PAM

 Watchdog, what you wrote was: “Concerning a move in 2011 to the Brunswick Annex, a non-musician Board member told NewsLanc: ‘This project is far beyond the reach of current Board of PAM, technically & financially.’ ” I understood what you were referring to; I don’t think you presented the board member’s quote out of context.

WATCHDOG:  The original version mistakenly attributed the comment to the overall performance of the board, for which I again apologize.

The board member’s opinion is worrisome, however. I read the terms of the offer Hamid Zahedi (partner in the Brunswick Hotel) made to PAM, as well as your commentary on the offer. If your reporting is correct, this is what the board member is calling “beyond the reach” of PAM’s current board: $25,000 in renovations, a $10,000 security deposit, and rent that starts at $2,000 per month and tops out at $5,000 per month. The 100 block of N. Queen St. is a great downtown Lancaster location, and although 24,000 SF is much less space than they had in their old building, it should be enough to meet their needs.

WATCHDOG:  Subsequent study indicates $75,000 needs to be expended for a new roof and to weatherproof the joint at the base of the exterior walls.  Given time constraints, it would be desirable for PAM to spend a year located elsewhere while others seek to acquire and renovate the Brunswick Annex.  This requires negotiations with the owners for an option to purchase, consultation with faculty, design, pricing and ultimately fund raising.   The goal would be for the Academy to own the Annex debt free.

Other than donated space, I can’t imagine them finding a better deal. If they don’t think they can find a way to take advantage of an offer like this, they must have already given up.

WATCHDOG:  My interest is as much as to help downtown Lancaster as PAM.  The Academy can be a vibrant center and, over time, grow into a campus, utilizing portions of the adjoining Brunswick Hotel.  I cannot think of any development more positive for downtown Lancaster.

Saving PAM and renovating and expanding the Lancaster Public Library (Duke Street) should be the City’s’  top goals for downtown Lancaster. 

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Updated: June 28, 2010 — 1:14 am

1 Comment

  1. I am concerned that the people behind the Pennsylvania Academy of Music never took the time to come up with a practical business plan before they approached donors and taxpayers for support in building their overly-expensive palace on N. Prince Street. I am even more concerned that so many public officials and private individuals provided so many millions of dollars without performing the slightest bit of due diligence, instead taking the word of PAM’s founders that they had a practical business plan – which they didn’t.

    PAM’s reputation has been irreparably damaged by its Prince St. fiasco. Lancaster would be much better off if PAM were to cease operations, opening the door to the creation of a new music school based on economic and common sense.

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