Huber Heights’ music center to add another entertainment option to region

Published: Monday, May 06, 2013 @ 12:05 AM
Updated: Monday, May 06, 2013 @ 12:05 AM

Continuing coverage

The Dayton Daily News has provided in-depth coverage on the Huber Heights music center story since we broke the news in early December of the city’s proposal. We will continue to follow this story closely and bring you the latest updates as they develop.

The ceremonial groundbreaking for the Huber Heights music center is scheduled for 1 p.m. May 18. The music center is projected to open in the late summer of 2014, and the 4,500-seat covered venue will be modeled after the PNC Pavilion at Riverbend in Cincinnati.

The $18 million Huber Heights music center will create an even more competitive market in a region saturated with entertainment venues, local and national experts say.

However, Huber Heights officials believe that the music venue will not compete with other facilities — such as the Fraze Pavilion in Kettering — but rather enhance the region and spotlight the northern part of the area, where a lack of entertainment options exist.

“We’re looking to work with all of our neighboring communities on how we can make this work together,” Huber Heights assistant city manager Scott Falkowski said. “The belief is that two venues like this can thrive.”

With a similar-sized venue in Kettering, the two facilities will be going head-to-head, according to Gary Bongiovanni, editor-in-chief of Pollstar, a website and magazine that covers the international concert industry.

That could result in higher ticket prices for the consumer if both venues are competing for the same acts, he said.

“It’s going to be tough to make it work,” Bongiovanni said. “They’ll be splitting the shows, presumably. Artists are going to look at where they can make the most money.”

The Fraze — owned and operated by the city of Kettering — is a popular 4,300-seat venue that opened in 1991. (See photo galleries of recent Fraze Pavilion concerts.) Kettering City Manager Mark Schwieterman said Huber Heights is in Fraze’s market, which includes north Dayton, Cincinnati, Columbus and Indianapolis.

It’s “fair to say” that the two venues will be competing for people’s entertainment dollars, he said, but performances at the Horseshoe Casino in Cincinnati, Riverbend Music Center and Victoria Theatre Association also come into play.

“If I’m John Doe and I’ve got $400 to spend on entertainment at two facilities within 20 minutes, I’d look at both facilities and see where I want to go,” Schwieterman said. “But it’s not just about the Fraze and Huber Heights. There are a lot of venues in this region competing for entertainment dollars.”

A recent $2.31 million property acquisition from Meijer will accommodate the Huber Heights music center and GoodSports Enterprises’ $22 million fieldhouse. Both will be built along the south side of Executive Boulevard, west of Meijer near the Interstate 70 and Ohio 201 interchange.

“It takes considerable relationships and experience in the industry,” Bongiovanni said. “There’s a certain trust level before committing to playing at a place. Over time, facilities develop a reputation if they can sell tickets or not sell tickets. With the local population going to the Fraze, it will make it that much harder for a new facility to be successful.”

The next steps for Huber Heights are locking in an exact location for the music center and hiring a management company to run it, Falkowski said.

“Now it’s really coming into focus,” Falkowski said. “The expectation is we have created an entertainment destination that will be good for all residents and people from out of the area, in addition to spurring that development.”

Huber Heights resident Dianne Woodson lives on Loblolly Drive, a neighborhood north of Executive and directly across from the music center site. Woodson said she is in favor of the music center and other development because it would bring money and jobs to the city.

Woodson said she isn’t sure if two outdoor music venues in the Dayton area will work, but she would attend shows depending on who the city attracts and how much tickets cost.

“They need something over here to bring it to life,” she said. “I’m dying to see how it’s going to work.”

Duane Wicks, a Kettering resident who has lived on Brookfield Road the last 42 years, said he attends two or three events per year at the Fraze.

Wicks, who lives within walking distance of the Fraze, said it will be tough for Huber Heights to compete with the Fraze, but he would drive north if there was a show he was interested in attending.

Falkowski said the city doesn’t expect the music center to “have everything up to full expectations” until its third year of operation, including a full season of shows.

By then, the city projects to annually generate about $2.3 million in revenue and profit $400,000, according to a Conventions, Sports & Leisure study.

“We have every expectation that we’ll have a full slate of concerts and other events that will keep it full throughout the summer,” Falkowski said. “We don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be. It’s going to be a first-class facility that we feel bands will want to play here and people are going to want to come here and see them.”

Jim Brown, the executive director of the Nutter Center, said “competition is everywhere,” citing movie theaters, sporting events and amusement parks.

The Nutter Center hosts about 220 events per year, and the last two fiscal years have resulted in a minor profit for the Nutter Center, Brown said. In previous years, it has been in the red.

“It’s a fun and exciting industry to be involved in,” Brown said. “There’s a lot of risk involved and a lot of money involved. Most buildings don’t make money. The last two years we’ve made money, but the stars and moon have aligned for that to happen.”

Brown spent three years working to secure deals to bring in Elton John and Bob Seger. John’s sold-out concert on April 3 was the highest-grossing show in the 23-year history of the facility, generating $918,000. (See photo galleries of other recent Nutter Center concerts.)

“A lot of work goes into it — a lot of planning and expenses,” he said. “We’ve done a very good job servicing our patrons, promoters and event producers. You’ve got to know the market, and if something’s not going to work, you’ve got to tell the promoter that it doesn’t fit in our market.”

The Fraze lost money in 17 of its previous 22 years of operation and had to subsidize from the general fund 14 times, but not since 2006. From 2010-12, the city generated a profit, including a jump from $278,278 in ‘11 to $660,838 last year, which Schwieterman said was a result of a “great lineup.”

“We had some growing pains early on building our brand and market,” Schwieterman said. “It takes a long time to build relationships with acts and agents. … We intend to be very successful this year. I don’t anticipate this year being different than the last couple years.”

Lease extensions sought for city land eyed for riverfront development

Published: Monday, May 22, 2017 @ 11:01 AM


            The city of West Carrollton plans to extend leases through the end of the year for two tenants at the Carrollton Plaza along I-75. The city plans to demolish buildings there next year and redevelop the site as part of a multi-million dollar entertainment district. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

West Carrollton is looking to extend leases with tenants of Carrollton Plaza, part of 13.75 acres the city recently acquired with plans to demolish buildings for redevelopment.

RELATED: Carrollon Plaza land seen as key for entertainment district

Lease extensions through Dec. 31 of this year for the Ohio Deputy Registrar License Agency and the Montgomery County Clerk of Courts Auto Title office are set to be addressed by West Carrollton City Council Tuesday night.

Those offices are among a handful of tenants at the Carrollton Plaza on East Dixie Drive at the southwest quadrant of Interstate 75’s Exit 47, a site seen as key to the city’s riverfront development for a multi-million dollar entertainment district.

RELATED: City hires consultant for $300 million riverfront plan

The city acquired Carrollton Plaza, the former site of Roberds, earlier this month.

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Dayton man to answer to murder charge in wife’s death

Published: Friday, May 19, 2017 @ 10:44 AM
Updated: Friday, May 19, 2017 @ 4:49 PM

Donald Lee Cleaver
Montgomery County Jail

DAYTON —  An 82-year-old man is facing a murder charge after police said he fatally stabbed his wife at their Delmar Avenue home.

  • Victim identified as Mary Lou Cleaver
  • Suspect identified as the victim’s husband, Donald Cleaver
  • Donald Cleaver is facing multiple charges, including murder while committing felonious assault and purposeful murder

UPDATE @ 10:49 a.m. (May 22)

Mary Lou Cleaver, 70, died of "multiple sharp force injures of the left posterior chest," and her death has been ruled a homicide, according to the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office.

Mary Lou’s husband, 82-year-old Donald Cleaver, is scheduled to be arraigned today on charges of felonious assault and murder.

UPDATE @ 4:47 p.m. (May 19)

Donald Cleaver is being formally charged by the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office in the slaying of his wife.

UPDATE @ 12:17 p.m. (May 19)

An 82-year-old Dayton man is in the Montgomery County jail charged with murder for allegedly stabbing his 70-year-old wife to death following an argument in their home on Delmar Ave.

Donald Cleaver was booked in to jail early Friday morning after he showed up at the police department to turn himself in for allegedly killing his wife, Mary Cleaver.

>>TRENDING NEWS: Mother jailed, accused of shooting her children in the head

It was a neighbor that called 911 to alert police to the crime.  “He says he just killed his wife,” the 911 caller said.  “He’s getting ready to head to the jail he says.”

According to Dayton homicide detectives, the investigation shows the Cleaver’s apparently argued last night and after Mary Cleaver went to bed, Donald Cleaver fatally stabbed her. 

The case will be presented to the Montgomery Count Prosecutor’s office for formal charges.

>>MORE NEWS HAPPENING IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD

According to a Dayton police report, officers responded to Cleaver’s home in the 200 block of North Delmar Avenue around 1 a.m. Friday.

The Montgomery County Coroner’s Office said Mary Cleaver, 70, was killed at the same address officers responded to.

“He did not say how he did it,” the 911 caller said.

A knife is listed in the police report as a possible weapon used.

Cleaver is not yet officially charged.

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Woman found dead in Kettering ID’d: What we’re trying to find out

Published: Monday, May 22, 2017 @ 9:57 AM

The body of a woman found in Kettering Sunday morning has been identified as Tiffany Lynn Argo, according to the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office.

Kettering Police are continuing their investigation after the body was found in the front yard of a home.

Police were dispatched to the house in the 3400 block of Valleywood Drive around 6:40 a.m., according to Kettering Officer John Jung.

MORE: Man indicted in bomb threat that evacuates Tenneco plant in Kettering

Here is what we’re trying to find out involving the death:

1) More about the victim

Little is known about the victim. Argo is 28 years old and her address was listed as Blakely Drive in Dayton, according to the coroner’s office. 

MORE: Crime lab director’s son, 2 others named as suspects after drug raids 

2) Circumstances surrounding death

Upon discovery of the body on Valleywood Drive, police were not able to immediately identify a cause of death. While autopsy reports can take up to eight weeks, a preliminary cause could be available before.

3) 9-1-1 call

We are currently awaiting 911 audio from Kettering police to find out when and the manner in which the body was discovered.

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Police: Mother shot kids to ‘save them from the evils of the world’

Published: Monday, May 22, 2017 @ 9:53 AM


            Claudena Helton faces charges related to last week’s shooting of her two children, who died Sunday night at Dayton Children’s Hospital.

The Dayton mother accused of shooting her children in the head said she did it to “save them from the evils of the world,” according to court documents.

Khmorra Helton, 8, and Kaiden Helton, 6, died Sunday at Dayton Children’s Hospital. Investigators from the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office will perform autopsies today.

PHOTOS: Police respond to shooting scene, neighbors react

Claudena Marie Helton, 30, was interviewed by Dayton police detectives Thursday at the Safety Building. According to the affidavit and statement of facts written by Dayton police Det. Rod Roberts, “Ms. Helton made admissions to shooting the children to save them from the evils of the world.”

The affidavit indicated Helton asked her oldest child, an 11-year-old, to assist her in removing the children from the home at 3821 Lori Sue Ave. The girl was taken from the home and interviewed.

RELATED: Dayton chief after 2 kids shot in head: ‘This is one of the toughest’

Helton is scheduled to be arraigned today in Dayton Municipal Court. The charges of attempted murder and felonious assault filed last week likely will be updated to reflect the children’s death.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Follow Mark Gokavi on Facebook and Twitter

Khmorra’s father is listed as Lynntonio S. Watson, according to birth records.

Watson, 30, less than three years ago was convicted of murder and felonious assault in the shooting death of 19-year-old Martell Gray. In September 2013, he fired gunshots that killed Gray and injured two others near Dayton’s Whitney Young Estates.

Kaiden’s father is listed as Stephen J. Fletcher, the records show.

RELATED: Dayton mom who police say shot her children had volatile relationships

On May 23, 2010, Trotwood police arrested Fletcher for allegedly threatening Claudena Helton’s life, punching her in the face and choking her until she nearly fainted, according to a police report. Fletcher was charged with misdemeanor counts of aggravated menacing and domestic violence. He was found guilty of one of the counts and sentenced to 123 days in jail.

RELATED: 6 recent times children have been gunshot victims

Fatal shootings involving young child victims are rare.

In Montgomery County, one child under the age of 10 was killed by gun shots in both 2015 and 2016, according to preliminary data by Public Health – Dayton & Montgomery County.

Between 2014 and 2016, there have been 126 Montgomery County residents who died from gun shots and nine were under the age of 18, the data show.