News Column

Huber to add $1M to music center budget

June 22, 2014

By Steven Matthews, Dayton Daily News, Ohio

June 22--Huber Heights plans to add another $1 million to the music center's construction budget -- increasing the cost for the city-owned venue from $18 million to $19 million.

City Council is scheduled to vote Monday night on a VIP area ($480,000) and concession stand upgrades ($520,000), totaling $1 million that would be paid for by tax increment financing dollars, city officials said.

The revenue increase generated from concession sales, VIP sponsorships and ticket sales is projected be about $1 million over a 10-year period, assistant city manager Scott Falkowski said.

"Sometimes you have to spend money to make money," Falkowski said. "You calculate, 'Can you put money in, and is it worthwhile to get money back out of it?' We definitely feel it is."

The two main concession stands will be 5,500 square feet each. Upgrades include four outdoor grills, two pizza ovens and electrical work.

The VIP area was part of the scope of work originally approved, but it had not been finalized, Falkowski said. The Administration Committee discussed the project at last week's meeting.

It will consist of 10,000 square feet, featuring a private concession area, private restrooms, dining tent, and its own separate entrance and parking.

Mayor Tom McMasters questions why it wasn't in the budget in the first place, and if a VIP area is necessary for every event the music center hosts.

"Obviously, some concerts or events lend themselves to sponsorships, and some do not," McMasters said. "In theory, it could work. But a top-level theory doesn't always put any money into your pocket."

According to a Conventions, Sports & Leisure study conducted last year, the city projected to collect a $400,000 profit annually -- following management, maintenance, advertising and utility costs -- after two full seasons of events at the music center.

That number will now be around $500,000 a year with the construction changes, Falkowski said.

"It's an investment," said Councilman Mark Campbell, chair of the Administration Committee.

The opening of the music center will not be delayed because of the construction changes, Falkowski said. Construction of the 4,500-seat covered music center at 6800 Executive Boulevard is expected to be completed by late summer.

An opening event is likely to be scheduled this year, Falkowski said.

Huber Heights also is closing in on a naming rights sponsor for the music center. The proposal is $200,000 a year for 10 years, and the money would go into the general fund.

Falkowski declined to name the potential sponsor, saying the deal could be finalized in the next couple weeks.

The city would receive 100 percent of the naming rights' revenue, according to the 10-year management contract with Music and Event Management, Inc. council approved earlier this month.


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Source: Dayton Daily News (OH)

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