The Trotwood Dome
Hara Arena (after tornado damage).jpg
Location 1001 Shiloh Springs Road
Dayton, Ohio 45415
Opened 1964
Owner
Surface Concrete/Ice
Tenants Dayton Gems (IHL) (1964–77, 1979–80)
Dayton Owls (IHL) (1977)
Dayton Jets (CnHL/AAHL) (1985–1987)
Dayton Bombers (ECHL) (1991–1996)
Dayton Ice Bandits (CoHL) (1996–1997)
Dayton Gems (IHL/CHL) (2009–2012)
Dayton Demonz (FHL) (2012–2015)
Dayton Demolition (FHL) (2015–2016)
Capacity 5,500 permanent seats
1,500 additional festival seats
Field Dimensions Ice surface: 195 x 84 ft (59 x 26 m)

The Hara Arena is a 5,500-seat multi-purpose arena in Trotwood, Ohio, just outside of the city of Dayton, Ohio. At one time, it hosted the Dayton Jets basketball team and Dayton Gems, Dayton Owls, Dayton Bombers, and Dayton Ice Bandits ice hockey teams, and The Marshals indoor football team. Currently it hosts the new Dayton Gems team in the resurrected International Hockey League.

History[edit | edit source]

The site was originally the family-owned fruit orchard of Harold and Ralph Wampler. The name stems from HA from Harold and RA from Ralph. In 1956, the Wampler Ballroom was erected, which still stands today in the six-building complex. The arena itself opened in 1964.[1] Both of the arena's founders were Shriners, and originally founded the venue after realizing that there was nowhere suitable in the area to hold the Shrine Circus.[2] The original plans did not include an ice rink, but were changed to accommodate the Dayton Gems who were looking for a home arena. As of 2016, the complex spanned Template:Convert/numdisp square feet (15,300 m2) which includes the main arena, four exhibition halls, a conference center, a pub and a golf course. The Arena regularly used the slogan in advertising "Nowhere Else But Hara."[3]

On July 29, 2016, it was announced that the facility would close after hosting a final event August 27, 2016 due to ongoing financial issues and a 20-year long legal fight over the unresolved estate of founder Harold Wampler. At the time of the closure announcement, the facility was said to have a $36 million annual impact to the area.[4][5] The closure forced events, like the annual Dayton Hamvention, to search for an alternative venue.[6] It also forced the Dayton Demolition ice hockey team to cease operations after only one season.

As of March 2018, the property had been abandoned for over a year-and-a-half, at times vandalized and broken into. In December 2017, PNC Bank foreclosed on the property, seeking to collect on $350,000 owed to the bank. It was reported that many had called Trotwood's government with ideas for the property, which had a list price of $775,000, but anyone seeking to acquire the property would need a "specific plan for the complicated situation of 'well over $1 million' in taxes that are due, and the multiple parcels of land and arena."[7] In April 2018, YouTube video from a self-described "local explorer" illicitly entering the arena showed disrepair and deteriorating conditions. The city of Trotwood had made attempts to secure the property, but with limited success, and it was reported to have hundreds of code violations.[8]

On May 2, 2018, it was revealed that the property was purchased by Michael Heitz, a developer based in Louisville, Kentucky. Heitz stated that he had bought the income tax liens from Montgomery County and hoped to close on further liens with the banks later in the week. Heitz stated that his first priority was to clean up the site and secure the property. He is known for purchasing other distressed properties within the area and getting them shovel ready for users.[9]

On February 25, 2019, at least three individuals were arrested for breaking into the property in an attempt to steal air conditioning parts.[10]

On the night of May 27–28, 2019, the property suffered extensive damage when tornadoes and severe storms moved through the area. The roof and sides of the structure were blown off in several places.[11] In response, Heitz stated that he was cautiously optimistic that the building could be salvaged, but if not, it would have to be demolished. He noted that much of the main arena looked fine and that the metal which had been lost could be replaced and likely needed to be replaced anyway. He also stated that he had recently secured a grant to conduct a phase 2 environmental study of the site, with the possibility of selling the building to another buyer, which would bring new jobs to the area.[12]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. History. Archived from the original on 2016-05-27. Retrieved on May 27, 2016.
  2. Weissberg, Brad (August 10, 2016). Last Hurrah For Hara Arena. Retrieved on May 28, 2019.
  3. Bucher, Jim. "Visiting the worst of 2016", Xenia Daily Gazette, January 9, 2017. Retrieved on March 22, 2018. 
  4. "Hara Arena to Close", WHIO, July 29, 2016. 
  5. Staff, WDTN (2016-07-29). Hara Arena closing its doors after 60 years.
  6. Frolik, Cornelius. "Hara Arena closing forces Hamvention to find new home", WHIO, July 29, 2016. 
  7. Schroeder, Kaitlin. "Nearly two years later: Debt, back taxes linger for Hara Arena property", WHIO, March 21, 2018. Retrieved on March 21, 2018. 
  8. "Hara Arena deterioration shown in new video", WHIO-TV, April 4, 2018. Retrieved on April 4, 2018. 
  9. Gnau, Thomas. "BREAKING: Developer says he has purchased Hara Arena", WHIO-TV, May 2, 2018. Retrieved on May 2, 2018. 
  10. "Thieves break into Hara Arena, attempt to steal air conditioning parts", WDTN, February 25, 2019. Retrieved on February 25, 2019. 
  11. "State of Emergency issued for Trotwood; Hara Arena roof blown off, schools closed after tornadoes", WHIO-TV, May 28, 2019. Retrieved on May 28, 2019. 
  12. "Hara owner is hopeful arena can be saved for future buyer", WHIO-TV, May 29, 2019. Retrieved on May 29, 2019. 

External links[edit | edit source]

This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Hara Arena. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Ice Hockey Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License 3.0 (Unported) (CC-BY-SA).


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