It’s not “your money” to build Huber Heights Music Center, Councilman Campbell

What happened to Memorial Hall once the Victoria reopened, and then what happened to the Victoria once the Schuster opened? Or what has happened to Hara Arena since UD Arena, the Dayton Convention Center and then the Nutter Center opened? What is the utilization rates of all these venues? Hint: our population hasn’t grown at near the rate of the seats and spaces for events.

Now Huber Heights is being run by? Concert Promoters? Really? I’ve known Mick Montgomery (Canal Street Tavern) and Jerry Gilloti (Gillys) for years and I doubt there is anyone who knows the vagaries of booking music acts better than these two men, and I’ll place a bet neither of them would say Dayton can support a “Fraze 2” in Huber Heights without cannibalizing the track record of the Fraze.

(Huber Heights Councilman Mark) Campbell said Huber Heights hasn’t identified how the music center would be funded, but didn’t rule out potential sources such as federal grant money, sponsors and selling the venue’s naming rights. That could generate about $6 million to help offset the cost, Campbell said. TIF money also could be used to build it and once the music center is fully operational, Campbell projects it would generate about $500,000 in profit per year.

City officials said the music center would not compete with the Fraze Pavilion in Kettering, a popular 4,300-seat venue that opened in 1991. The $2.6 million venue was funded 100 percent by community donations, according to Amy Berlean, Kettering’s community information manager.

Campbell hopes the city can work with Kettering to “enhance the region.”

“The Fraze doesn’t have the same type of location we do,” Campbell said. “They have longevity. The buzz in government is cooperation and working together. It’s a really good opportunity to put our money where our mouth is. What’s good for us is what’s good for the region, and vice versa.”

via Huber music center creates high hopes.

There used to be a lot more ice rinks in town before Kettering built one with tax dollars. Dayton had a Moore’s Nautilus downtown until they sunk millions of tax dollars into Joe Moores competition- the downtown YMCA and Joe closed his gym and said goodbye to Dayton. There is a reason you don’t see private libraries- who could charge for entry and renting books when there is a tax supported library that doesn’t charge? Private swimming pools also have struggled as have private golf courses that are priced for the “common man.” The list goes on.

The sad truth is that The Fraze didn’t make money for a good number of years. Finding and retaining the right mix of a successful promoter/booking agent, advertising, good weather and the right acts on the right days is almost a black magic art. Big names won’t even stop at a venue in a small market on prime weekend nights, and only if they are on the way between other gigs. This isn’t as easy as build it and they will come. Some idiot has even thought that Dayton could support two professional hockey teams at once which was a joke. UD and WSU won’t even play each other in basketball- and WSU has never been able to come close to filling the Nutter the way UD does for hoops. There are many factors at play and no guarantees.

If we had regional government, this wouldn’t even be on the horizon, but we don’t. Last I checked, Huber Heights citizens wouldn’t vote to increase their taxes for a needed school levy, yet the city council seems to think that they should speculate $18 million on a concert hall? Mr. Campbell talks about “putting our money where our mouth is” and misses the point- it’s the people’s money and they would prefer to use it to put food in their mouths, than support a concert venue that may or may not make money, but will most definitely cost them premium dollar to go to.

Kettering has evolved over the years into a model for a balanced and effective community that seems to put the needs of its citizens first. Good schools, good neighborhoods, good parks and recreation. If Huber Heights thinks it’s ready to be Kettering 2, that’s fine, but the problem is, very few followers ever manage to move to number one by doing the same thing. And, people willing and able to plop down $50 or more per ticket to concerts are a shrinking market as those in the know will tell you.

All this “development” is just sprawl being mislabeled, just like “our money” is. Huber Heights doesn’t exactly have a track record of developmental success with “The Heights” a multimillion dollar housing boondoggle in the same area as this mythical music venue. This concert venue is unneeded and unnecessary and unrealistic. Find other ways to spend tax dollars to improve the city, without killing one of our region’s true gems- The Fraze.

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3 Responses

  1. Chuckie Chops-A-Lot December 30, 2012 / 11:30 am
    I’m excited about the venue.  I think that much like in the world, there is a north-south gap in Montgomery County.  All of the revenue producing entities are downtown or south of Dayton.  I think with the Kroger Aquatic Center, Scene 75, the potential track, and maybe this ampitheatre, things are moving in the right direction.  As a northern Montgomery County resident, I’m excited.
    Now figuring out how to get the Huber Heights school levy passed, that is a different story.  All I know is my wife and I will be working hard to get it passed in May.  Hopefully, I have better luck than when I tried to get a rogue candidate the Democratic nomination for the 10th Congressional District.
  2. David Esrati January 1, 2013 / 11:32 am

    Well, it’s good to know Huber is in such fine financial shape:

    Bell said the city’s options could range from putting a levy on the ballot in 2013 to reducing the city’s income tax credit. Huber Heights currently offers a full credit of 2 percent.

    Back in March, an income tax increase from 2 to 2.25 percent was rejected by voters — a measure that would have generated about $1.6 million annually and started July 1. Assistant city manager Donnie Jones had said 70 percent of that revenue generated would have been from non-Huber Heights residents who work in the city…

    Fisher cited the $114,375 in profit that was generated by the Kroger Aquatic Center at The Heights in its first season as a new source of revenue. The proposed $18 million music center that could be open as early as spring 2014 will create new jobs and increase the city’s income tax revenue, Fisher said.

    “We expect to make money on the music center,” he said.

    The city also will save $106,000 in 2013 by switching health care providers.

    via City looks to hike funds.

    Generating $114K in profit on a brand new pool as an indication of success is very short sighted. Once the newness wears off- customers don’t come running like they used to. Maintenance costs also go up as things break and wear out.

    As to “making money on a music center”- look at the full 20 year record of the Fraze before spewing claims like that.

  3. bobby January 1, 2013 / 2:33 pm
    Thirty thousand of the 114k pool profit was gained from a license Kroger pays annually for naming rights. Does this remind anyone else of RIP Splash Moraine? 
     Huber City Council dodged a bullet when the original developer of the Benchrock development failed, eliminating a public golf course that would have bled money. They seem determined to leverage their community with debt for monuments to stupidity.  

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