Hara Arena among sites considered for new fairgrounds

Fair officials have visited at least three sites in Trotwood.

Representatives of the Montgomery County Agricultural Society have visited at least three sites in Trotwood as possible new locations for the Montgomery County Fair, the city’s mayor said Wednesday.

Among those sites has been the Hara Arena property, Mayor Mary McDonald said. She declined to identify the other two sites.

“I can tell you the fair is looking at several locations within the city of Trotwood,” McDonald said.

Those responsible for overseeing the fair have explored possible new locations for the fair for a few years, with an eye on commercial redevelopment of the historic fairgrounds, on South Main Street near Miami Valley Hospital.

John Friedline, president of the Agricultural Society Board, acknowledged Monday that Trotwood officials have spoken with the board. He did not mention visits to Trotwood.

Friedline and county officials have said the city of Dayton and Montgomery County will request proposals in May from developers to take up the effort to move the fair and redevelop its former home.

Friedline could not be immediately reached for comment Wednesday.

McDonald declined to comment on the future of Hara Arena. But she said she has referred the Hara property to Agricultural Society representatives about possible fair locations.

“It was really just off the cuff,” McDonald said of her mention of Hara Arena property.

Asked Tuesday about the arena’s plans, Cory Rose, the complex’s general manager, referred questions to Karen Wampler, a spokeswoman for Hara.

In an email Wednesday, Wampler, a member of the family that built Hara, decried what she called “speculation” about the arena’s future.

“This speculation undermines our ability to attract events, sponsors, patrons and investors,” she wrote.

“Rest assured, if the day comes when Hara must announce its closing, we will contact you with an official statement,” Wampler added.

She said the arena’s focus now is on upcoming events, including Hamvention, an amateur radio convention, scheduled for May 20 to 22.

The complex has events scheduled until Sept. 18, according to its web site.

Hara Arena owner, Harold Wampler Jr., is delinquent on taxes on the property, according to the Montgomery County Treasurer’s Office. Wampler has been put on a payment plan and owes $231,842 in back taxes, according to an official with the treasurer’s office.

The taxes on the property are $57,142, according to the treasurer’s office.

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