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Hara Arena closing forces Hamvention to find new home

Published: Friday, July 29, 2016 @ 4:16 PM
Updated: Friday, July 29, 2016 @ 4:36 PM

Despite the Hara Arena closing, Hamvention officials announced Friday that they are staying in the Dayton region, and the new home for 2017 will be announced soon, said Ron Cramer, the general chairman for the 2017 Dayton Hamvention.

“You can’t have a Dayton Hamvention in Las Vegas, Nevada,” he said.

The new site will not be very far from Hara, and the final details are being worked out now, Cramer said.

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Cramer said it is heartbreaking to move out of Hara, which has been the perfect home for the event since 1964.

But Cramer said Hamvention hopefully has found a new, permanent home.

Hara’s closure is unfortunate and sad in part because local residents have fond memories of attending concerts, sporting events and other big-time shows at the iconic entertainment venue, said Quincy Pope Sr., Trotwood’s city manager.

“It was a staple of entertainment in this region,” he said.

Hara clearly had some internal legal issues and faced increased competition from new and existing venues, including the Rose Music Center in Huber Heights and the Fraze Pavilion in Kettering, Pope said.

Other venues in region that compete for indoor events include the Wright State Nutter Center, the Dayton Convention Center, the University of Dayton Arena and the Hobart Arena in Troy.

Trotwood last year evaluated the financial performance and needs of the Hara Arena to determine if the city could provide some assistance, Pope said.

But it would take millions of dollars to modernize the complex, and the city cannot afford such a major commitment, he said.

Pope said the city will work with any investors or buyers who are interested in the site.

Hara Arena has been a legacy venue in the region, but it’s closure represents an opportunity for a new use and the complex’s size and location should be very appealing to some businesses and developers, said Chris Kershner, the vice president of public policy and economic development with the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce.