Trafford officials rethink strategy to find banquet hall manager
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After few people showed interest last year, Trafford council is trying to come up with a new way to attract someone to manage the Manchester Room.
A committee of councilmen Kris Cardiff, Pete Ledwich and Mike Mellon is expected to offer a recommendation at the council meeting Tuesday for how borough officials should solicit another batch of candidates. Council received three applications before a late-December deadline, but two pulled out, and officials chose not to hire the owner of a catering company who inquired.
Cardiff said the borough needs to get some return on investment for the banquet room, which was part of the construction of the controversial public-safety building in 2011 and 2012. Officials have said the building cost about $2.6 million, which was about $600,000 more than the initial budget.
Much of the $150,000 in annual debt service in Trafford’s budget is related to repayment for the cost of the building’s construction. But council’s budget for 2015 includes only an estimated $10,000 in revenue from renting the room.
“I know a lot of people didn’t want the room, but we have it, (and) it’s beautiful,” Cardiff said. “Let’s get the word out, and let’s see what we can do with it from there.”
Though the room opened for rentals in fall 2013, borough officials have done little to promote it. A new borough website, which launched last month at traffordborough.com, features photos and a video of the room and a link to a five-page rental form.
Some residents say they want to see borough officials do more.
Karen Lacina, who lives on First Street, suggested that borough officials place street signs to help direct guests to the room. People who drove from neighboring Level Green to eat at a Lenten-season fish fry organized by Trafford Emergency Medical Service told her they had trouble finding the room, she said.
“We need a manager, somebody to take care of it, to advertise it,” Lacina said.
Lou Corrales, who works on the road crew and lives in Trafford, said council members have to keep in mind that the borough loses out on revenue for every date that the room isn’t booked.
He reiterated the need for more advertising.
“It’s going to take a little bit of money, but I think more people will know what the room’s about,” Corrales said.
Chris Foreman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-871-2363 or firstname.lastname@example.org.