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.
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.