I guess Mike Ervin hasn’t quite mastered the art of the back room deals that are done in Dayton- tonight on Dayton MostMetro, he shared the plans that Dayton Bombers CEO Costa Papista has been quietly circulating to build consensus before going public with his well thought out plan for an ice arena that builds on existing strengths, instead of just being a shell game.
The string of discussion gets interesting- and I highly recommend reading the whole shooting match:
A couple of weeks ago Costa Papista,, the owner or the Dayton Bombers, came to my house and met with me; he brought along an architect that is working with him. Costa explained that he wants to work with a developer to place a recreation/multipurpose hockey arena with two sheets of ice on the site of Dave Hall Plaza. It would connect with the Crown (sic) Plaza Hotel and the Dayton Convention Center. He sent me a sketch from the architect that was a rough layout. He says that this would serve not for just an arena for the Bombers but would serve the local youth and adult hockey leagues, high school hockey teams, figure skating associations, learn to skate programs, and hockey schools. It would also serve as a 5,500 seat events facility for concerts and other activities. It could service basketball tournaments also. It would also increase the available floor space and capacity of the Convention Center. It would be open early in the morning (like 6 AM) until late at night (midnight). Last Thursday Costay (sic) met with me again and supplied architects renderings on what could be done on the site.
It would connect to the Crown Plaza Hotel and utilize their existing foodservice area for the arena and it would also connect to our convention center. It could take advantage of the parking garage. The wall along Fifth street could possibly be glass so as people drove or walked by they would see all the activity going on inside bringing the street alive.
Assuming that this could be payed (sic) for, my initial opinion is that this makes sense for the following reasons:
Had the Schuster Center been built at Fifth and Main where the new Reibold garage is (that can also be used for the arena) as I had recommended long ago- we would have had a solid combination for conventions and to anchor the Oregon Entertainment district. However, just as this plan makes perfect sense, there isn’t the big money like the Dayton Business Committee backing it like the Schuster, so it probably won’t be an easy sell.
Building on strengths-and creating synergy is the best way to rebuild our city. Trying to fix weaknesses or chase new dreams only dilutes the power of what we have. This is a great plan, but may have been hatched a little early.
Considering how this dovetails with the convenrtion center, already has 3 parking garages surrounding it, and would be capable of hosting hockey and figure skating tournaments- this makes much more sense than Austin Road.
It’s really too bad that Mandalay Entertainment can’t understand the value of a site like this- after their great sucess downtown. Which makes one more case for the city being careful who they choose to dance with- and under what conditions.
Before this deal gets further discussion, it would be really good to have some frank discussions about what will be in it for the taxpayers and what kind of revenue plans will be in place. Rinks aren’t cheap to maintain- and I doubt many hockey parents will be excited about having to pay for parking for practice. All these details will have to be worked out to make this a truly viable plan.