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Financial Woes Reported at Dayton Hamvention® Venue, Hara Arena

12/09/2014

Hara Arena — for many years the home of Dayton Hamvention® — is facing some financial issues and has cut back on its full-time staff to save money, according to a WDTN-TV “2 News” account. The Dayton TV station reported on December 2 that the Trotwood complex now has a full-time staff of only 12 employees. Karen Wampler, Hara’s Director of Marketing, told the TV station that it’s difficult for Hara Arena to compete with other Miami Valley venues, such as the Nutter Center at Wright State University, but she hinted at a positive announcement next year.

“As taxpayers, we’re competing against facilities that are subsidized by tax dollars, and because of that, we are struggling to compete,” Wampler said. “The primary challenges are that we need renovation dollars, and the ownership model needs to be changed.” The Wampler family has owned and operated Hara Arena since its humble origins in the 1950s, when Wampler Ballarena — then a dance hall, now an exhibit hall familiar to Hamvention visitors — was built in what had been a family-owned orchard. Hara Arena has since expanded to a 165,000 square foot, six-building complex.

Last year Hara Arena hosted 239 events, including Hamvention, generating an estimated $34 million in community revenue. Wampler told 2 NEWS that the arena is working with a company called VenuWorks, which specializes in restoring event venues, and she anticipated some “very, very, good news in 2015.”

Hara Arena has hosted everyone from The Rolling Stones and Kid Rock to President George W. Bush over the years. It is home to the Dayton Demonz hockey team.

“There’s a lot of history,” Wampler said. Hara Arena was named by founding brothers HArold and RAlph Wampler.

Last year, Dayton Hamvention, sponsored by the Dayton Amateur Radio Association, attracted nearly 25,000 visitors.

 



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