In the News: Trouble in Mecca? Dayton Hamvention Venue Hara Arena in Financial Trouble

My my my.  What a surprise!  WDTN TV-2 News in Dayton says that the crumbling Hara Arena (home of the Dayton Hamvention for over 50 years) is finally facing financial problems.

I’m not being fair here.  Yes the place is a dump.  There is not a white ceiling tile in the place.  The parking lot asphalt has not been resurfaced since the Roman empire.  But they have some good excuses.  Mainly, since it is a privately owned facility, it is difficult to compete with other venues that receive tax subsidies.

Hara’s Director of Marketing says it is tough for Hara to compete with venues like the Nutter Center, but they’re keeping a positive attitude.

Hara generated $34-million into the community through 239 events last year.

“As taxpayers, we’re competing against facilities that are subsidized by tax dollars and because of that we are struggling to compete. The primary challenges are that we need renovation dollars and the ownership model needs to be changed,” said Karen Wampler, Director of Marketing at Hara Arena.

Wampler told 2 NEWS they are working with a company called Venuworks that specializes in restoring event venues.

I really really hope that they can pull it off.  My prediction is that Hamvention will go on for 2015, but 2016 may be a transition year to somewhere else.  I really really hope that the Dayton Amateur Radio Association has some contingency plans in place.  The Hamvention has pretty much grown into the Hara Arena, and finding another place will be difficult.  But I am sure that this organization has some plans for the future — they depend on the Hamvention as their primary fundraiser to cover their club budget, and as far as radio clubs go, they have got to have the largest budget of them all!  Someone on the eham.net forums pulled the following from Guidestar:

DARA EIN 31-0686486
FY2010 Abbreviated Financials from Form 990:

Revenue $333,211
Expenses $151,103

(He went on to complain about how much profit a “non profit” made… he misses the point, non-profits are allowed to save money they just can’t pass the profits on to shareholders.  Eh, some people think they know it all).

Speaking of people thinking that they know it all, I am working on an editorial explaining what I would do if I were the Hamvention board.  It will be coming soon.

LINKS:

WDTN News Story
Hara Arena

Dayton Amateur Radio Association
DARA Financial Report from Guidestar (pay site)
Hamvention

(Published from DFW, Texas)

 

 

 

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