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Mike Ervin lets cat out of bag about downtown ice rink plans

Proposed sketch of Downtown Dayton Ice Rink to be built on Dave Hall Plaza [1]

Proposed sketch of Downtown Dayton Ice Rink to be built on Dave Hall Plaza

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.

Rendering of site view of new Downtown Dayton ice Arean on Dave Hall Plaza [2]

Rendering of site view of new Downtown Dayton ice Arean on Dave Hall Plaza

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:

via Downtown Hockey Arena [3].

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.

Site plan for proposed new Downtown Dayton Ice Arena on Dave Hall Plaza [4]

Site plan for proposed new Downtown Dayton Ice Arena on Dave Hall Plaza

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.

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I’m not even a hockey fan, but I think this is a brilliant idea, especially because it supports existing entities (Convention Center, Crowne Plaza, Cold Beer & Cheeseburgers, Spaghetti Warehouse, Transportation Center). It also allows for new businesses to spring up around it, which adds to the options downtown.

Montgomery County is desperate for sales tax revenue, this arena makes more sense in this plan than the one at Austin Road. It just makes more sense to support what we have than to build new (the entire Austin Road development) and weaken everything else in the region.

As for “Mike Ervin hasn’t quite mastered the art of the back room deals that are done in Dayton”… isn’t it refreshing that something is brought out of the backroom and into the light so we can have some discussion on it before it goes too far? This is how you build consensus and support for a project. Kudos to Mike for making it public and for letting everyone add their two cents worth – perhaps it’ll make it an even better deal for all involved.

Re: parking – I’m sure deals could be worked out for practices vs games – but maybe it’ll encourage people to carpool and only have to park one car with many players, instead of many cars with one player. Reminds me of the good old days back at Holy Angels before seat belt laws and parents feeling compelled to attend every practice. The entire team would pile into one or two station wagons, the mom would drop us off at the game, run errands and come back later!


The way they paid for Paul Brown Stadium and the Reds ballpark was with a county sales tax.

John Ise

Exciting news indeed. I’ve heard from some Canadian friends that they have open air rinks up there which sounds really cool to me (watching semi-pro hockey outside under the stars). Wonder if they could do the same somehow with this (retractable roof?).


Wow! I had just returned last night from a hockey coaching clinic the Blue Jackets gave at Nationwide Arena in Columbus when I saw this post. Nationwide has a practice rink next to it with glass walls, similar to this design, and you can see people using the rink at all hours. (Yes, we hockey folks and play and practice as early as 5 or 6am and as late as 11pm or midnight). It really adds a sense of vibrancy to downtown to see this activity each day and evening, let alone on game nights.

The possibilities for using a facility like this are many. Hockey tournaments, figure skating events, concerts, basketball tournament, volleyball tournaments, color guard events, etc. And the “green” factor and economic advantages with parking and hotels already in place adds to the idea that this is something Dayton could greatly benefit from.

As opposed to some ideas that don’t seem realistic at all, this looks like a great idea on many levels.


It all depands on how its’ executed. Neat features that make the design, like the glass walls and good lighting, could be dropped as cost-cutting measures, and you’d end up with another big bland box like the Convention Center.

There’s some hope this will spin off foot traffic into downtown to go to restaurants and such. Maybe. I see it more like a Sinclair thing: drive in, park in garage, go to arena to do your thing, and go back to garage and drive home. This would especially be the case if the food service operation inside the place is sort of like a food court/restaurant concept vs basic stadium stuff.


The hockey arena is a “no-brainer” to me. The location seems optimum with convention center, hotel, existing restaurants, the OD, parking garages close by. The big elephant in the room, of course, is financing. Hopefully, the connections Mike Ervin is making for a greater downtown plan has potential money sources as well.


Let’s not forget the crime element that will be derailed in the very area the arena will occupy. It has been reported that this area contributes to illegal activity that the City of Dayton would like to curtail.

Bill Pote

The DMM Forum is back up – to read the discussion there starting with Mike Ervin’s announcement of this plan, go to:

Thanks David…


“The way they paid for Paul Brown Stadium and the Reds ballpark was with a county sales tax.” They also issued tax free municipal bonds for those and for the new fields in Cleveland.


Those are revenue bonds that have to be paid off with some source of rvenue from the stadiums. They are tax free to the bondholders, meaning you don’t have to pay tax on the interest income from the bond.

A % of this sales tax could be used to retire the bonds as well as pay for operating costs..not sure about the arrangement.


It was refreshing for Mike Ervin to share the information he had instead of playing the backroom games that many of us are used to.

Do you have any other renderings of the project?

Donald Phillips

Destroy a green space for an ice rink that will at best host a minor league team? Do any of you remember the Dayton Flyers?. The NHL franchise is in serious financial condition and the average age of its fan base is somewhere in the sixties. This isn’t a development. At best, it’s a diversion. “TG” has conveniently glossed over how disgruntled the people of Cincinnatti are over their new sports venues that they got bamboozled into paying for by wealthy team owners and do-good busybody urban planners.

Let me know when the people of Dayton decide to stand up, as their view while bent over is such a poetic trope.

John Ise

This is completely wacky, but would they be able to gut the Arcade and retrofit hockey rink and stands within the Arcade under that great rotunda?


Donald I bet your one of those unhappy guys that just loves to make others miserable and cannot see any good in the world. The cup is always half empty in your world right?

A hockey rink that will attract business to a dying downtown is a positive thing for Dayton. We need attractions to revitalize the downtown district. Businesses have been leaving for the suburbs and malls for years and with the current trend we’ll have a skyline of empty buildings.

I don’t know where you get the average age of a hockey fan is 60 yrs old. I can only guess where you pulled that number from. My guess from the Dayton Bombers fans the average is mid 30’s. The majority of fans that show up are families and it seems the kids outnumber the adults.

And downtowns are for business and commerce so please don’t worry about the green space. Montgomery County has millions of acres of parks if you want to run your toes through the grass. Hop in your Volvo and drive there!

David Lauri

Weren’t there a bunch of naysayers about the Dragons too?

And (excuse my ignorance, but I’m one of those gays who doesn’t follow sports) isn’t hockey season winter? So that might bring people downtown in winter who go to Dragons games in summer?

I appreciate Jeff Dwellen’s point about the maturity of the landscaping in Dave Hall Plaza, but there would be a certain synergy in putting a hockey arena near the convention center and the Crowne Plaza. There are other areas that could replace Dave Hall Plaza. What about the land where Patterson Co-op used to be? We don’t really need another parking lot there, do we?


Yeah, there is a trade-off involved with losing the park, but DHP was supposed to be temporary. One of the pitfalls of that temporary landscaping approach is that it was temporary long enough to mature into an actual park and now people are slightly attached to it. But not too much, I think, to were you’d see big opposition to removing it.

I don’t see a strong connection with the convention center, but this really works well with the parking garage and hotel, especially the parking garage.


I was initially a fan of any new arena being at 5th and Wayne, but it’s hard to argue that the Dave Hall Plaza location doesn’t make sense…

Best of all, we aren’t going to be looking at like 100 million bucks to get this thing done. It’s a currently wide-open area, with parking not an issue whatsoever…

We just need to get as many movers-and-shakers on board as possible… Mike Ervin is a great start. As well as the online community like David here and everybody at DMM…

Let’s not let this one die like a lot of the other “proposed” things for downtown…

This is a great idea. Period. End of story… Let’s move it forward.


The heaviest users of this will be the little leagues as I can see them there every weekend during the day. And you can see them being customers over at the Spaghouse as that place is sort of a fun, unpretentious family type of restaurant.

Donald Phillips

You all are using the same it’ll-bring-people-downtown mantra that was used for the Schuster Ctr. and 5/3rd Field. Neither of them have ‘brought people downtown’; they have brought people to the Schuster and 5/3rd Field. Walk one block away from either of these venues and you’re still in ground absolute zero.

I’m gleefully cynical and rarely contradicted by reality. The truth requires no apology. Though I do apologize to Mr. Crusty. I drive a Saab–not a Volvo.


Personally I can not see ripping up one of the last remaining green spaces left in downtown Dayton to put in, of all things, a freaking hockey rink.
I am NOT against the rink; just the proposed location.
Was Dave Hall NOT an important enough politician around here to keep his plaza as is?
What does this say to Tony Hall, his son? Another important politician. A seemingly honest one. (I know; an oxymoron)
Build your little rink for your third rate sport. Who cares?


Mike – the Greater Dayton Downtown Plan intends to create more green space. As mentioned, Dave Hall Plaza was intended to be a developed site. Quite honestly, most people don’t use it, the berms make them feel unsafe.

This is less about hockey and more about increasing the capabilities of the Dayton Convention Center, allowing us to bring in larger convention groups throughout the year. It’s about much needed ice for teams to practice, it’s potentially practice space for Winter Guard and other groups. Think MULTI-purpose, not just hockey a few months out of the year.

This greatly expands upon existing entities and creates synergy among them. We can name other parks after Dave Hall….possibly the old Patterson HS site across from Memorial Hall.