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Hamvention Chair: “The Show Will Go on” at Aging Hara Arena

01/06/2015

Despite financial struggles dogging the owners of Hara Arena, site of the Dayton Hamvention® since the 1960s, the 2015 Hamvention General Chairman Jim Tiderman, N8IDS, has told ARRL that he expects the world’s largest Amateur Radio show to continue there — this May and in the years ahead. Tiderman was reacting to recent media accounts detailing the fiscal woes of the aging Hara complex in Trotwood, Ohio. He said Hamvention’s sponsoring Dayton Amateur Radio Association (DARA) and Hamvention officials have been in conversation with Hara’s owners, the Wampler family, regarding the future of the 165,000 square foot, six-building complex.

“Both Hamvention and DARA have absolute confidence in [the Wampler family’s] guiding their corporation through the steps in the plans in place to keep Hara operating for years to come,” Tiderman said. “Given the time frame they are working with right now, we simply stand by them and repeat, ‘The show will go on.’” Last year, Dayton Hamvention attracted nearly 25,000 visitors.

Dayton TV station WDTN-TV reported last month that the 50-year-old Hara Arena was facing financial problems and had cut back on its full-time staff to save money. Karen Wampler, Hara’s Director of Marketing, has told the media that it’s become difficult for Hara Arena to compete with other Miami Valley venues, such as the Nutter Center at Wright State University and the downtown Dayton Convention Center. The Hara complex needs money for renovations and deferred maintenance, she said, and “the ownership model needs to be changed.” Wampler told the Dayton Daily News in December that while the family cares about the facility, it is limited in what it can afford. In addition to flagging revenues, the Dayton Daily News reported, some $395,000 in back property taxes are owed on the two land parcels that make up the Hara Arena complex.

Wampler said the arena has been working with VenuWorks, which specializes in restoring event venues, and that she hoped to have some good news to report this year. Dayton Hamvention takes place May 15-17.

 



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