Hotel lodging tax could help keep Dayton Convention Center alive

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DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – A new tax in the Ohio budget bill and a plan devised by the Dayton Convention Center Task Force could provide additional funding to save the Dayton Convention Center.

Updates to the two-year, $69 billion spending bill were released by the Senate Finance Committee which recommended it to be passed along to the Senate. The bill must be approved by state legislators before Ohio Governor, Mike DeWine, can sign it. The deadline for signing the bill is June 30, reports our business partners at the Dayton Business Journal .

The bill could boost funding for the Dayton Convention Center through a hotel lodging tax.

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley said $300,000 is spent on building maintenance for the convention center annually. The facility still requires between $20.9 million and $28.4 million in repairs.

The lodging tax, up to three percent, would be administered by a convention facilities authority, an organization that could be established by county commissioners.

The Dayton Convention Center, a 150,000 square foot facility, has been operating with a budgetary loss since 2012. However, local stakeholders believe that the building should be saved. A task force presented recommendations on what needs to occur on order for the convention center to be saved, in December.

The task force’s suggestions included the creation of a regional ownership model and operating structure for the center, which has been owned by the city of Dayton since its opening in the 1970s. The task force also recommended: developing support services and resources for the center, such as, marketing and sales, regional synergy and transportation; growing existing and creating new funding sources to support the operations of the convention center.

Two additional steps were created based on the task force recommendations. These first step is developing an “aspirational plan” consisting of two stages, the first stage: a one to three year implementation plan, and the second: a 10-year transition and full completion plan. The second step is the creation of a master planning group, which would include the local stakeholders.

“We believe it is needed in the community and should stay,” said president and CEO of the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce and co-chair of the Dayton Convention Center Task Force, Phil Parker. “But we also want to grow the business and economic impact of this (facility).”

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