DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – A special task force has released new recommendations for the Dayton Convention Center after a report shows the number of events hosted there has declined over the past decade.
Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce President Phil Parker says there is promise in the Convention Center, but says several changes need to happen.
According to city records, over the past ten years the Convention Center had its best year in 2008, hosting 367 events with over 290,000 people in attendance.
But by 2017, those numbers dropped to just 173 events and roughly 182,000 in attendance.
“Financially, I think it has actually had some concerns from the city, and I think there’s been some real concerns about ‘what’s the future of this building?’” says Parker.
Among the recommendations in the report: opening more hotels in and around downtown.
The report also includes suggestions to bring in more funding including a proposal to raise Montgomery County’s lodging tax.
The county’s lodging tax currently sits at 6 percent, but the task force suggests increasing it to 9 percent.
Officials say that tax is paid by hotel guests and the rate would be more on par with other counties that have large cities.
“I think up to a 3 percent increase will be something that the city can handle, that the region can handle,” says Dayton City Commissioner Christopher Shaw, who served on the task force.
In addition to upgrades to the building, the report also suggests a change in the management structure.
Officials say very few cities own and operate its own convention center as Dayton does.
“That’s something that our other partners in the region have to take a look at. I think that we’ve come to know that this is a regional asset,” says Shaw.