Hara Arena set to close doors in August
UPDATE: Hara Arena says it is closing its doors for good after six decades of entertainment. The iconic arena will host its last event August 27th.
"I think that's what makes this doubly heartbreaking is that it's not only the economic loss, the loss of jobs, it's also an emotional loss for so many people," said Karen Wampler, the Marketing Director for Hara Arena.
We caught up with Darlene Goodloe across the street at a family restaurant. She says it's a family tradition for her family to see Disney on Ice or Sesame Street on Ice.
"They come all the way from Atlanta and this is something we do every year. It's something that we go to the Hara Arena to do. We look forward to it and that's our outing and I don't know what to tell them now," said Darlene Goodloe.
The iconic venue brought sports, concerts, entertainment and special interest shows to the Miami Valley for 60 years
The trouble started 20 years ago when one of the founders, Harold Wampler died. That launched a family and legal battle that drained Hara of the resources for much-needed renovations and reorganization.
"We are losing too many great things around here. We need people to do what they need to do and keep what's in Dayton for us because we're moving outside to spend our money and we need to keep our money in Dayton. It's a great loss and I'm sad," said Goodloe.
Wampler says that loss will come in the form of $36 million in annual economic impact; youth, men's and professional hockey programs; and the hundreds of events that called Hara home but Karen has hopes for a last second miracle.
"There is always hope that with this announcement will come an opportunity that was not present previously," said Wampler.
UPDATE: Despite the closing of Hara arena, the Hamvention is planning to stay in the Dayton area.
General Chairman of Dayton Hamvention Ron Cramer said in a release that the convention will stay in the same weekend, and accommodations and outside events should not be affected because of it staying in the region.
A formal announcement should be made soon about the new partner for the 2017 Hamvention.
TROTWOOD (WRGT) - Hara Arena announced Friday, July 29, that it will host its last event on August 27, 2016.
According to a release by the arena's owners, the Wampler family, the venue could not overcome an internal legal battle that has spanned the last two decades.
Harold Wampler founded Hara Arena in 1956, and it was one of the few family-owned venues of its kind. Wampler died in 1996, and his unresolved estate - under which Hara is co-owned - launched a twenty year family and legal battle that drained Hara of the resources for much-needed renovations and reorganization, according to the release.
"We are painfully aware of the loss this announcement will generate, which is why we have fought so long and hard to prevent it," says Karen Wampler, Hara’s marketing director.
Hara Arena was home to a number of events, including Hamvention. The convention for amateur radio enthusiasts brings millions of dollars to the local economy each year. The staff is working to help relocate as many Hara events as possible within Montgomery County.
This story will continue to be updated as more information becomes available.