Hara Arena, the former venue for Dayton Hamvention® and myriad sports, entertainment, and other presentations over the years, will soon be history. In the wake of a failed attempt to revitalize the tornado-damaged complex, officials in the city of Trotwood, Ohio — where Hara Arena is actually located — announced plans last week to raze the complex and rezone the property from commercial recreation to light industrial.
“The complex suffered extensive damage during the 2019 Memorial Day tornado outbreak,” the city said in a news release on September 25, taking note of hopes to salvage the complex. “However, redeveloping the property would be a challenge due to the extent of the damage, so the decision was made, and a contract has been secured to demolish the legendary venue.”
The city said the zoning change will allow manufacturing, distribution centers, and call centers to establish their businesses in the area.
“We are excited for what the future holds for this property,” Trotwood Mayor Mary McDonald said.
The Dayton Daily News reported that the owners of the property have said the iconic marquee spelling out “Hara Arena” atop the main arena will be preserved and auctioned off at a later date, with the proceeds donated to charity.
The Hara complex and the surrounding real estate occupy some 128 acres all together.
Owner Corey Heitz told the Dayton Daily News that it will take up to 6 months to tear down the buildings completely, and he hopes to have “something” there in the next 12 months.
Hara Arena had served as the venue for Dayton Hamvention from 1964 until 2016. Hamvention announced in July 2016 that Hara Arena would be closing and that Hamvention would continue. The show is now held at the Greene County Fairgrounds and Expo Center.
Over its six-decade history, Hara Arena hosted concerts by performers that included the Rolling Stones and the Grateful Dead; it was also where hockey legend Wayne Gretzky played his first professional hockey game.