Hara Arena

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Hara Arena
Trotwood Dome
HaraArena.JPG
Location1001 Shiloh Springs Road
Trotwood, Ohio 45415
Coordinates39°49′16″N 84°15′22″W / 39.82111°N 84.25611°W / 39.82111; -84.25611
Capacity5,500 permanent seats
1,500 additional festival seats
Field sizeIce surface: 195 x 84 ft (59 x 26 m)
SurfaceConcrete/Ice
Opened1964
ClosedAugust 27, 2016
Tenants
Dayton Gems (IHL) (1964–1977, 1979–1980)
Megacity Hockey Club (1967-89) (2002-16)
Dayton Jets (CnHL/AAHL) (1985–1987)
Dayton Dynamo (AISA) (1988–1990)
Dayton Bombers (ECHL) (1991–1996)
Dayton Ice Bandits (CoHL) (1996–1997)
Dayton Sky Hawks (IFL) (1999–2000)
Dayton Jets (IBL) (2005)
The Marshals (NIFL) (2007)
Dayton Gems (IHL/CHL) (2009–2012)
Dayton Silverbacks (CIFL) (2011–2012)
Dayton Demonz (FHL) (2012–2015)
Gem City Rollergirls (WFTDA) (2012–2014)
Dayton Sharks (CIFL) (2013–2014)
Dayton Demolition (FHL) (2015–2016)
Website
www.haracomplex.com

Hara Arena was a 5,500-seat multi-purpose arena located in the Dayton, Ohio suburb of Trotwood. The facility began as a ballroom in 1956, added an arena in 1964 and grew to a six-building complex which closed in August 2016.[1]

At one time, it hosted the Dayton Jets basketball team and Dayton Gems (1964–1977, 1979–1980 and 2009–2012), Dayton Blue Hawks, Dayton Owls, Dayton Bombers, Dayton Ice Bandits, Dayton Demonz, Megacity Hockey Club and Dayton Demolition ice hockey teams and the Marshals indoor football team.

History[edit]

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] 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 165,000 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."[2]

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.[3][4] The closure forced events, like the annual Dayton Hamvention, to search for an alternative venue.[5] 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."[6] 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.[7]

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.[8]

Championship Teams at Hara[edit]

  • 1968–69 Dayton Gems
  • 1969–70 Dayton Gems
  • 1975–76 Dayton Gems
  • 2013–14 Dayton Demonz

Professional wrestling[edit]

Hara was the scene every other Monday night in the 1960s and 1970s for the "Original" Big Time Wrestling, featuring such stars as the Sheik, Bobo Brazil, Fred and Bull Curry, Igor, Mark Lewin, Ox Baker, and many other wrestling stars. The ring announcer for most of the events was Les Pomervlle. Hara also hosted Georgia Championship Wrestling in 1983 and 1984. It also hosted a WWF Superstars of Wrestling TV taping in March, 1987, a WWF Wrestling Challenge taping in August, 1988, and the Pay-Per-View events as follows: the 1995 WCW Great American Bash, WCW/NWO Souled Out (1998), and ECW Heatwave 1998 and ECW Heatwave 1999.[citation needed]

Other events[edit]

Interior of the arena during the 2003 Hamvention.

The arena was also venue to many types of concerts, music festivals, trade shows and conventions, formerly including the annual Dayton Hamvention (which, starting in 2017, will be held at the Greene County Fairgrounds and Expo Center). The Miami Valley Home Improvement Show was also held annually here.[1] According to the American Radio Relay League, the 2016 Hamvention had been the 65th held in Dayton and the Hara complex hosted more than 25,000 visitors in that final year.[9]

Over a 60-year history, the facility hosted many musical performances from bands ranging from the Rolling Stones and the Grateful Dead[3] to Guy Lombardo And His Royal Canadians.[10] Heavy metal band Pantera performed at the facility numerous times between the years of 1990-2001, and were officially named the house band of the venue in 1998.

Hara Arena was where Wayne Gretzky played his first professional hockey game;[11] a pre-season game between the Indianapolis Racers and the Cincinnati Stingers, on September 27, 1978.

The Arena was also home to many popular touring shows, such as Disney on Ice and Sesame Street on Ice.[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "History". HaraComplex.com. Archived from the original on 2016-05-27. Retrieved May 27, 2016.
  2. ^ Bucher, Jim (January 9, 2017). "Visiting the worst of 2016". Xenia Daily Gazette. Retrieved March 22, 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Hara Arena to Close". WHIO. July 29, 2016.
  4. ^ Staff, WDTN (2016-07-29). "Hara Arena closing its doors after 60 years". WDTN. Retrieved 2016-07-30.
  5. ^ Frolik, Cornelius (July 29, 2016). "Hara Arena closing forces Hamvention to find new home". WHIO.
  6. ^ Schroeder, Kaitlin (March 21, 2018). "Nearly two years later: Debt, back taxes linger for Hara Arena property". WHIO. Retrieved March 21, 2018.
  7. ^ "Hara Arena deterioration shown in new video". WHIO-TV. April 4, 2018. Retrieved April 4, 2018.
  8. ^ Gnau, Thomas (May 2, 2018). "BREAKING: Developer says he has purchased Hara Arena". WHIO-TV. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  9. ^ "Good-Bye, Hara Arena! Hamvention to Relocate in 2017!". ARRL. July 29, 2016.
  10. ^ "Guy Lombardo – October, 1976 Itinerary".
  11. ^ Becky Grimes (2009-09-30). "Hockey Returns To Hara Arena". WHIO TV. Retrieved 2010-01-08.
  12. ^ Hauser, Christian (July 29, 2016). "Hara Arena set to close doors in August". WRGT-TV. Retrieved March 21, 2018.

External links[edit]

Events and tenants
Preceded by
None
Home of the Dayton Bombers
1991 – 1996
Succeeded by
Ervin J. Nutter Center
Preceded by
None
None
None
Home of the Dayton Gems
1964 – 1977
1979 – 1980
2009 – 2012
Succeeded by
None
None
None
Preceded by
Biltmore Hotel
Host of the Dayton Hamvention
1964 – 2016
Succeeded by
Greene County Fairgrounds