New Montgomery County Ohio tax to make the rich richer.

There is a hockey rink off Austin Road, but you wouldn’t know about it unless you play. It’s in an old tennis barn, and it’s one of the coldest rinks I’ve ever played in.

The boards are catywampus, the stands are just aluminum bleachers, and the locker rooms could double as a meat locker, but the ice is hard and fast. And the poor sap who owns it, paid for it with his own money, not yours.

Now, Randy Gunlock, of RG properties, who already has a private ice rink in his backyard- complete with a full size Zamboni- wants to have the country raise taxes to build a 5000 seat hockey stadium- that he’ll end up owning just because, well, he can afford to buy a legislator or two.

Montgomery County commissioners are seeking a change in state law to permit them to levy up to an additional 4 percent lodgings tax to help finance an events center and hockey arena envisioned for the Austin Pike interchange south of Dayton.

The lodgings tax in most of the county now is 6 percent, with 3 percent going to the locality in which the hotel or motel is located and 3 percent to the county, Montgomery County Administrator Deborah Feldman said today, Dec. 9.

Of the county’s share, 70 percent goes to the Dayton-Montgomery County Convention & Visitors Bureau, Feldman said.

House Speaker Jon Husted, R-Kettering, said he is preparing an amendment that would make the change and plans to find a bill to attach it to for a vote either this week or next week.

The three county commissioners — board President Judy Dodge, Dan Foley and Debbie Lieberman — requested the change in state law in a letter to Husted on Oct. 29.

“The requested change will provide broader authority to use the lodgings tax to support arts and cultural amenities in the community, strengthen our ability to promote and market Montgomery County and to issue bonds associated with the construction of a proposed arena and multi-event center,” the letter said….

Feldman said commissioners hope the legislature would act this year, but commissioners would not move on increasing the lodgings tax until next year if that’s what they decide to do. No price tag has been set on the arena, she said.

Husted said he would want the money from the increase to be spent on financing the arena, not ongoing operations. He said the commissioners would not have to levy the full additional 4 percent if all of it wasn’t needed.

The arena would be the anchor of a high-tech mixed-use development that officials have said could bring 21,000 jobs.

Work on the $49 million Austin Pike interchange, about 3 1/2 miles south of the Dayton Mall on Interstate 75, is expected to start next year.

Hotel-motel tax hike would help finance arena.

One has to wonder why no one has discussed how much it would cost the county to update and retrofit Hara Arena as compared to building Randy’s new hockey palace with our tax dollars. With 5,500 seats, a practice rink that seats around 600, and plenty of parking, and not too far off the Trotwood connector, Hara is a proven hockey location. I’m guessing that for less than $4 million, Hara could be an amazing updated facility.

A second option is to build the Hockey palace in the Kettering Rec Center parking lot- and just add a parking garage to the KRC rec plex. Being right next to the Greene, this would be an opportunity to try to work a revenue share with Greene County- with the added restaurant revenues on Game nights.

Then of course, you could also build it in Dayton, next to the Dragons Stadium or the Oregon District, and help balance the seasonal business.

All of these make more sense than Austin Pike. But, then again, none of us are rich enough to buy our legislation.

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41 Comments on "New Montgomery County Ohio tax to make the rich richer."

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As usual, I’m probably way behind the eight ball on this one, but let me take a wild guess as to who the general contractor is going to be on all this ? Umm . . . Danis.
I know this crowd all too well and I know how they operate, David. What’s best for Dayton is way, way down on their list of priorities.


I agree that there would be a better place for a hockey arena. Hara, though, is not the answer. We need a fresh approach, and sorry, Hara is a dump.

Is this new place in Warren Co.? If it is then it is a situation of competition amongst counties, like The Greene. Downtown, just south of MVH (so maybe not technically DT) would be my choice.


Check that, just NORTH of MVH, South of the actual Downtown.


David, glad to see you calling ’em out. Things are getting pretty obvious now when we see the county commissioners proposing a direct subsidy to a private developer at Austin Road…as if the interchange itself isnt enough. First Husted suggesting that a capital budget line item, now the commissioners proposing a direct subsidey. Wow…just wow.

Seriously, if this interchange is such a hot business site, there doesnt need to be any public money going to direct assistance for developers…the site would sell itself.

“Then of course, you could also build it in Dayton, next to the Dragons Stadium or the Oregon District, and help balance the seasonal business”

This arena is the missing piece for BPV. Ironic to the max that its the BPV advocate Mandalay that is parterning with RG on this edge city project

J.R. Locke

I don’t understand this at all….Hockey rink with tax payer money?

Jesus Gene grow up be an adult who cares if it is a dump. Need to start over? Christ all this whiny pristine talk…that is what is wrong with America.


Actually, I know that rink Esrati is talking about. Its behind that wierd half-pyramid building. The place is popular with Lexoids, who go there on their lunch break for some quick hockey.

That whole area east of the airport along Austin is going to EXPLODE when that interchange opens. You can just feel it and see it..the land sort of half dead being held in speculation. Austin Road/Social Row is going to be the new Route 725.

Check out the wide open spaces out there now while you have the chance, its the lull before the storm.

Greg Hunter
Greg Hunter

The big boys are having margin calls and the grab is on. It makes no sense for Austin Road to go forward. But Steve Stanley, a long time Danis landfill boy has been making sure of this Danis project with financing by the Dayton Chamber of Commerce. These are the people that helped bring about the current credit crisis, by building crap on credit that does not benefit the whole of Dayton. The DDN stands mute as the COX sisters have considerable land holdings in the area and if one could unwind all of the land partnerships in the form of LLC’s in that area I think you find a lot of pay offs. Tuss and Feldman’s relationships need some light shined on them as they seem to scuttle around like cockroaches, killing downtown projects, while blowing hot air up Austin Road. It was obvious in 2002 that this was bad for Dayton and did not make sense, but like the idiots we send to DC and the supposed adults managing the Stock Market, the people pushing this for the County only care about taking Tax Dollars for the benefit of themselves, while the DDN laments the lack of Dayton idiots in positions of power in Columbus. The baby boomers have spent there children’s and grandchildren’s taxes on monuments to stupidity. Future Gen X slogan – A Baby Boomer in Every Pot!


JR, Hara is a dump. Could it be improved? Certainly. But what we are talking about here is introducing an arena that would tie into the current situation they would provide an entertainment district in the DT area – possibly meaning jobs and a better Dayton. You are right, not everything needs to be new. But if you want to attract businesses to this area you need to provide something other than places like Hara. Other cities beat Dayton bc they are forward thinking. Hara is run down and the area of town in deteriorating. Those are just the facts. We need an arena in the DT area to promote hockey and promote Dayton, DT specifically. Otherwise Dayton continues to die.

New often is better, especially when what you have is inadequate.

This is not the same subject as “buying stuff” just to buy stuff. Unlike the bs purchases made by many people, a designed, well thought plan that would include culture and entertainment as well as jobs could improve Dayton and the quality of life for a lot of people. There is nothing wrong with new – new in this case will create opportunities for Dayton. To be considered a “city” we need stuff like this in our city.

ShortWest Rick
ShortWest Rick

I get it and I don’t get it. Austin Road development is Montgomery County’s vision to pull revenues from northern Warren County residents just as The Greene pulls revenues from southern Montgomery County residents.

The part I don’t get is a slab of ice being the anchor which will draw all these new businesses to locate to Austin Road, will a hocky rink really generate enough traffic to support a whole new generation of McDonalds and Tim Hortons that are already located half a mile south on 741 in Warren County? Or should we expect patrons of the hocky rink to also shop at a Victoria’s Secret or stop in for new eye glasses while in Montgomery County?

It’s Three-card Monte, Montgomery County residents are the three time losers in this deal by raising taxes on accomidations for potential visitors and conventions, financing growth to feed revenues to already developed northern Warren County and of course Montgomery County tax payers will pick up the short fall when the hotel receipts don’t cover the moneys committed.


I think the hockey angle is that Randy Gunlock is a hockey fan?

I mean, Esrati sez the guy owns his own Zamboni machine for his private rink…

There is almost somthing Bond villian-esque about it.


Ditto Greg ! You hit the nail right on the head. And one of their cc buddies was just awarded the DBJ Business of the Year Award. God, what a frikn’ joke.


I really wish someone could draw me a picture that connects all the dots as far as the players involved in this (especially behind the scenes). Other questions…

Who is going to be using the hockey rink? Who is the target market?

What’s the average attendance at a Bomber’s home game?

What happens when the Prime Outlets open a little farther south and suck the life out of a lot of the retail in the area?

What exactly will the Montgomery County lodging tax be compared to Greene, Butler & Warren?

Who benefits besides Randy Gunlock?

What happens to the $48m if this exchange doesn’t happen? Could it be redirected to other projects?

Just because we CAN add another interchange, does that mean we SHOULD?

David Esrati
David Esrati

Average attendance at a Bombers home game is around 3,000.
Hockey rinks plural- since there would have to be a big arena and a practice rink. Mostly used by upper class, white kids- hockey is an expensive sport. It wouldn’t be the Bombers new rink- Gunlock and Mandalay want an AHL team.
If the interchange isn’t built- Lexis Nexis will be pissed- of course, others have built down there- like Terradata- just waiting for the new exchange.
I think Jeffrey has already exposed the property owners that will most benefit.
Prime Outlets will do some damage – but, the real damage is already being done by online sales.
I don’t have the answers on the tax rates. Shouldn’t be that hard to find out.


Thanks David.

Next question is why are we catering so much to Lexis Nexis and Terradata when the common vibe on the street is it’s just a matter of time until both leave town altogether?

I hate to see either leave, but I think they’re going whether they get the interchange or not.

David Esrati
David Esrati

@TG- because it will make the buildings easier to sell?
I’m not quite sure why Lexis Nexis is still in business- selling access to public info?
The age of proprietary data is pretty much passe.

David Esrati
David Esrati

WHOA this place is worse than a bunch of women at a Bunko party. JR Locke, I take offense at your language. It is very inappropriate and unnecessary.
Hara Arena is a dump in a deteriorating, unsafe part of town. It could be gold plated and I wouldn’t go there let alone send any kids there.
As for the man who owns the zamboni and the guy asking if that means he enjoys skating, thus wanting to build an arena everyone can enjoy > so what? If I owned an outdoor outhouse and wanted to build a nicer outdoor outhouse for the interchange people how does that not benefit those who want to use it!? Last time I checked our tax dollars pay for rest stops throughout Ohio regardless of where we live.
My advice: Get over the petty jealousy and start working for the good of the community. Nothing worth having comes cheap.

David Esrati
David Esrati

There has been no explanation of who would own the rink, pay for maintenance and upkeep, or who would occupy it.
Yet, we’re ready to raise a tax- to build something that we don’t even know there is a need for?
There is a rink South- and I’m sure he pays taxes, instead of taking them. Tell me where the demand is for a rink?
Show me a team.
And tell me why it wouldn’t be better downtown, right next to the Dragon’s stadium?


Downtown would be best for the entire area.

Springboro schools cut busing for kindergartens – the so called rich community feels the pinch. We may want to invest, all communities that is, in education and things involving education.


It appears to me that it would be owned and operated by the city or county. Those are good questions, questions that should have been asked in a forum that did not contain personal attacks on any one individual. Not only was that unprofessional, but extremely immature and out of line.

Whether you think there is a need for an arena or not is your opinion. The rest of the county/city has a say in this matter as well. That is why we elect officials who make decisions on our behalf. Making uneducated guesses and accusations is not in the best interest of the community.

As for putting this venue downtown it is not a convenient location, nor a safe location, to send our kids who live south of Dayton.

Gene, you don’t even want to get me started on the waste that occurs in the Springoboro as well as Centerville school systems. The problem with Springboro is they want huge houses with high appraisals, but they do not want to pay the taxes that support the schools. Furthermore, we are in an age where people who have their children in school should be paying for part of their child’s education. The private school kids have parents who support their child’s school by paying tuition, along with taxes that support the local public school system. Also, people need to realize what is of more value: driving a Lexus, having a pricey home, going on luxurious vacations, OR doing their share to help support the local schools, thus investing in the future of their child. Until people decide that a child’s education is our future, and stop living in the selfishness of the “here and now” nothing will ever change. We live in a very self-centered world where sadly, everyone is out for themself. Then, when we have someone willing to do something better for the community the green monsters start to emerge, accusations fly, and things get unnecessarily ugly.

David Esrati

@John- kids south of town have a rink- right off Austin Road. I play there on Monday nights. There is not a need for ice south, or for a 6000 seat hockey arena (there is no team, or ownership group that has been identified).
Riverscape shows a need for a rink- that’s open when it’s not cold enough to keep the ice down- and kids sure seem safe there.
Frankly- you sound like you are on Gunlock’s payroll.
There hasn’t been any study identifying a need for an arena- or proving that the area can support 1 semi-pro team never mind 2.

Greg Hunter
Greg Hunter

Yes John is excellent as I have sat across the table from these types of individuals before as they claim a mantle of authority while executing backhanded comments. It reminds me of High School, where I would replay the comments from the day and realize that I was ridiculed, but I did not “get it”. I always figured that I was “too nice” to respond to the slights. I know some of you that have seen my posts find this hard to believe, but it is true.

I am deciding whether I will parse each of John’s sentences to expose “real John” and what he/she is saying. My first instinct is to think that John is either a RG man or it is the person I called out, Steve Stanley. These people in the public eye have no right to privacy and need to be called out. The DDN and Channel 7 are not going to do it as they do not rat on their friends or sell out the business model. They only show traffic accidents and gun shots, and that is news? God forbid they increase subscribers/viewers with the truth about how the corrupt elite work in Dayton. Where do you think the elite learn how to screw people? Dayton is the ideal test market to lead the sheep to slaughter, but hey, they are where they are because they have “integrity” and have worked for the positions of power. RIIIGHT! Ass kissing Groupthink. People like Esrati and myself provide a valuable counter weight to idiocy. Thank god, or was it Al Gore, for the internet; otherwise it would be fait a compli for every stupid decision that is made in this town.

If it is Steve, I think his selection of “John” is very appropriate, since I affectionately called him “Landfill Lackey” for the Danis organization. I love Freud.

John – Prostitutes customer or a crapper; take your choice. Love it!


David I do not know the man you speak of and have never met him. I find it humorous that you think I am on his payroll. You are obviously jealous of this man and his success. I do not understand why you attack a man who proposes something that the community would enjoy. My opinion and your opinion are just that, an opinion, right or wrong. Regardless it is unprofessional to slander anyone. If you can go to bed at night knowing you have done right that is all you need to achieve. Let the others worry about their own actions.

David Esrati
David Esrati

@John: Randy Gunlock is the guy who owns about 100 acres by the new interstate exchange. He develops WalMart sites. You know, the ones that drive out local business- then close- and move, like they did in Trotwood. Now, he want’s Montgomery County taxpayers to pay for his rink- on the Warren County border.


Greg, you refer to high school antics and that is exactly the kind of activity you are partaking. I am not sure what an “RG man” is and I do not know of the other man you mention. I do know that the tv stations thrive on negativity and if they are not reporting anyting bad about this proposed arena then obviously it can’t be all that bad. Your reference to violence only being reported on the news? It usually happens in the vicinity of the area you think this arena should be placed!?

Your accusations of the elite sounds as if you have sour grapes? As for your statement that you and Esrati are a “valuable counter weight to idiocy” I would have to respond stating you both ARE the weight of idiocy that balances each other. If you are so unhappy here why don’t you move? I guess miserable people love company and you and Esrati are on some sort of crusade together. How sad.

Since you like to refer to psychologists maybe you should study the famous Pavlov and his research regarding stimulus/response. The dog hears a sound and reacts, much like the two of you.

As for your other comment, if making that statement helps you feel like a man so be it, it has no bearing on me or who I am. I don’t allow myself to become upset over childish antics that do not matter in the scheme of the world. I’m actually getting a chuckle out of the whole sordid stupidity you’ve created.

I can’t help but notice you and Esrati wrote during normal business hours. I ask you how ethical it is to be blogging when you should be earning your paycheck. Then maybe one day you too can build an arena.


He owns land, why is that a bad thing? He has built Walmart, I like Walmart. Walmart employs many people and helps those of us who cannot afford to pay top dollar in specialty stores. Do not mistake me, I am not against privately owned shops; however, I cannot shop in those stores very every need I have.
If you do not want the arena that is your opinion. There is no harm in voicing an opinion supported by facts. When nasty, slanderous comments are made it only places you in a bad light with the rest of us in the community who do not know either of you.

Greg Hunter
Greg Hunter
John, I am sorry and I want to apologize to you and welcome you to the discourse. I do forget that people are not aware of my preeminent powers of prognostication ie I call it out correctly and hard core. I have written, talked, cajoled and been a down right asshole to the powers that be and I expect the people of Dayton to understand the foundation of my work and to respect my opinion as I have a solid base of predictions that have come true. I am sorry, but when you defend Wal Mart as a place that you admire it is time to turn the channel as you are unaware of the loss of skills that occur when these monstrosities enter the market. Wal Mart is founded on making cheap crap using slave labor at the behest of the Free Market to make our lives more fulfilling. Just as the Stock Market is a scam and built on a false premise, so is Wal Mart. Someday when energy is much more costly, America will look back and wonder why we sprawled all over our farm land, drove away tradesmen like furniture makers, beer makers, cobblers and other services that make civilization bearable. These professional skills were decimated by the advent of cheap oil that makes cheap plastic crap that decorates the outsides of houses the world over. The Titans of Industry used the Free Market approach; buy off DC politicians and turn America into Consumers instead of a society that values all skilled trades that build quality products. It is disheartening to read a post from an obviously intelligent individual that cannot see why the lure of instant gratification is not the ideal characteristic to foster in the human species. But hey, maybe you have a way for all of the human race to live the same consumptive life as the typical American? If so pound it out on the keyboard, because if you do not then you do not see the future, you just have faith. Faith is for yeast and the weak, so get real… Read more »
Greg Hunter
Greg Hunter

I do know that the tv stations thrive on negativity and if they are not reporting anyting bad about this proposed arena then obviously it can’t be all that bad.

Do you seriously think any paper/TV station will look at RG properties? Too many influential people will get their undies in a bunch. Really, you are articulate, but either you are young or very good a spinning naivete about how the world works.

John, FYI, liberals love to simmer in their own misery, adding bitching, moaning, crying and “that’s unfair” to their pot until they boil over. The Hara Arena and surrounding area is a joke. Really. You want people from out of town to go there to see an event? Please. That place is the perfect symbol for Dayton – old, run down, eye soar, etc Yet bc Iron Maiden played there in 1983 we have Dayton losers wanting to save it. Fudge, wake up and smell the coffee. Why do you care when rich people want to get more rich? They don’t stop their life’s or their businesses bc they are rich, rather that is why they still are rich. Besides, they generally employ a lot of people, something the poor does not do well (along with taking showers.) I am not a fan of the location, but lord knows we spend our tax dollars on people who buys drugs and 40’s and guns with, well, our money. At least this would be a move in a positive direction, rather than keep throwing money at people who live and smell like animals. John, Wal-Mart sucks for a lot more reason than given above, but they do have cheap stuff. To defend Wal Mart, not all their “stuff” is just plastic crap. They have food, soap, automotive goods, cheap clothes etc that are offered and bought (and these thing are actually needed) at stores all over the area. Why pick on Wal Mart? I think Wal Mart sucks bc I have a buddy who works in Bentonville for them and, well, it is an easy target not to like. I just chose to shop at places that are closer to where I live. Let the criers cry. Their “outrage” is their fuel. And they still do not understand their huge contribution to our economic mess, rather they continue to point the finger in one direction, to the right. At least some of the right recognize that everyone had a hand in this and I laugh all the way to the bank bc… Read more »

The issue is that Husted and the County Commission wants to provide a public subsidy to a private-sector development deal…at a site that should be profitable in its own right, not needing a subsidy.

What RG/Mandalay are proposing is a new Hara Arena, but the Wamplers never received any govt. support. Hara was strictley a private sector deal all along.

You all should look at the ongoing thread at Datyon Most Metro on this, too. It’s an 8 page thread with links to discussion at urban Ohio and my blog, but I’ll just link y’all to the last page:



Any project of any real size is going to have public subsidy. They talk a lot about Tech Town, big deal. That will be finished when I am dead.

This is not about sprawl, this is all about getting it where you want it. The closer to YOU, well, the better.


There havn’t been private developed sports centers? I mean we are not talking about the Nutter Center here.

Not being a hockey fan machts nichts for me about the location. I just wonder why this cant be centrally located downtown at the BPV site if there’s going to be a public subsidy.


I want it in a central place as well, and YES, they have been doing it for sports centers all over the United States.

Downtown Dayton is Dead-town Dayton.


is the John in question with the witty retorts happen to be from greenville ? sounds like you no worries iam a fan of your logic just a question

Ice Bandit
(hockey rinks in the Miami Valley are) Mostly used by upper class, white kids- hockey is an expensive sport. (David Esrati) “Why don’t black people play ice hockey? Because it’s cold in there man…” (Chris Rock) It was the waning days of the malaise-ridden and fiscally depressing Jimmy Carter era, but that was just the beginning of Augie’s woes. For Detroit was rapidly becoming the poster boy for dysfunctional American cities, and Augie’s job as general manager for a last-place, minor-league hockey team on the Motor City’s fringes was in serious jeporady. For a stampede of caucasians were leaving town for the safer and saner suburbs, and these same white folks had been the overwhelming bulk of the ticket buying public who had sustained this franchise for years. Facing this demographic shift, Augie had an epiphany; he was going to make hockey players of the city’s new black majority and ducat buying rink rats of their parents. And what better place for this experiment than Motown? Forget the empty boasts of those mooseheads in Minnehopeless, the best hockey players in the US came from Detroit, and the hockey culture was old and tradition laden. The city had a number of outdoor rinks maintained by Parks and Rec, and many of the new black majority high schools, such as Cody and Pershing and Kettering, had hockey histories that went back 50 years. Motown hockey lords made sure the proper equipment was available, so Augie kicked back and waited for the rush of newly forged African American hockey fans. Let the historical record show that Detroit’s black community response to this outreach was underwhelming and unappreciated. Football and hoops were the choice of the new majority, and what left of the hockey programs in the city proper died of lack of interest. Later, Arabs who moved to such areas as Dearborn and Hamtramck showed the same disinterest to shinny that the black population displayed. Blue collar white communities, such as Wyandotte and Garden City, maintained their programs thru such community efforts as car-washes, bake sales and raffles, showing that lack of income is… Read more »