Dayton's Memorial Hall: Between A Rock And A Hard Place

DAYTON (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Keeping a concert hall on the books can be an expensive proposition. Three years ago, Dayton city officials "temporarily" closed Memorial Hall, the stately but aging venue that has been a landmark in the city since 1910. The hall was originally constructed to honor veterans of the Spanish American war but in recent years, tightening budgets and city efforts to support the newer Schuster Center for the Performing Arts have left the 2,500 seat Memorial Hall mostly vacant.

The problem however, is that the facility still costs the county $350,000 dollars annually in upkeep, the Dayton Daily News reported. The hall is rented for private events, office space for some municipal employees but the rent from this only accounts for a small fraction of the upkeep costs.

"The main auditorium is the portion of the building we like to say is temporarily closed," Joe Tuss, assistant county administrator told the Daily News.

Officials estimate that to reopen the hall would cost upwards of 350,000 in addition to the annual upkeep. This is compounded by an agreement between city commissioners and with the Schuster PAC that Memorial Hall would not be operated as a competing venue.

Local club owner Mick Montgomery says he has a plan though. Montgomery owns the 200 person capacity Canal Street Tavern in downtown Dayton. He has proposed to the city that the hall be opened for nationally touring acts to generate revenue but county officials have seemed less than enthusiastic about his plan, stating that the proposal wouldn't generate enough revenue to be worthwhile, the Daily News reported.

Disagreeing, Montgomery told the paper that "This place is standing empty when it could be a great source of revenue for downtown," – CelebrityAccess Staff Writers