Part Two: Location, Location, Location
The City of Dayton’s Plan for an Arena
The first step was to find a location for the venue. The topic of where the arena would be located was one that dominated most of meetings between the city and the university that took place over the summer of 1967. In addition to the Dayton City Commission, one organization that immediately became involved in discussion was The New Dayton Committee, also known as The Dayton City Improvement Committee, a long-serving advisory body for the city composed of civic leaders who studied community problems surrounding urban development and who also espoused charitable and educational causes. Although not involved in the legislative process, the New Dayton Committee members possessed considerable influence . Concerned about the declining fortunes of the cities downtown and shocked by the smoldering racial tensions and social unrest that had recently rocked the city—a topic that will be discussed in the next section—the Committee proposed that the arena be located downtown where it “would tie together a metropolis and region that often seemed to fly apart” .
“City Center West” Source: https://www.urbanohio.com/forum/index.php?topic=7061.0, Retrieved from 8/17/2018
The Business Community Backs Proposals for a New Arena
In the ensuing months business leaders eager to see a multi-use arena/civic center complex developed in the downtown bombarded Roesch and Frericks. Prominent local entrepreneurs such as Edgar B. “Lefty” McFadden (1923-2004) sent President Roesch and Athletic Director Frericks congratulations on the recent success of the team and the progress being made in building it a new home. McFadden used the stationary of his Dayton Gems Hockey Team, a professional league team of which he was the Vice President and General Manager, to encourage university officials to consider the advantages of the city’s proposal. McFadden was one of a new generation of city business leaders that saw growth in the leisure entertainment, especially professional sports, as the most promising path towards the city’s economic revitalization. After serving in World War II, McFadden became a pitcher for the Cleveland Indians and later served as a scout for both Cleveland and the Cincinnati Reds. He made his mark locally as the driving force behind a number of professional sport enterprises including Dayton and New Bremen Speedways, Cincinnati Stingers Hockey Team, Oklahoma City Stars, and Washington Capitals of the National Hockey League. In later years he presided over a number of regional commissions and worked closely with Wright State University and the University of Dayton’s Athletic Departments. 
For the Gems a larger venue like at the center of the city would be a dramatic improvement upon its current facilities, Hara Arena, located in the northern suburb of Trotwood. The 5,500-seat multipurpose facility began as a ballroom in 1956, and an added an arena in 1964 that over time hosted the Dayton Jets basketball team, the Dayton Gems, Dayton Blue Hawks, Dayton Owls, Dayton Bombers, Dayton Ice Bandits, Dayton Demonz, and Dayton Demolition ice hockey teams as well as the Marshalls, an indoor football team. McFadden’s hopes for the new arena mirrored that of many other business leaders and the city officials that backed them. 
Changing Relationship of the University and the City
In 1967, however, the balance of power and mutual self-interest that had long governed the relationship between city planners, local business leaders, and the University of Dayton had shifted. Throughout much of its early history the University of Dayton had relied heavily upon the generosity of business leaders such as John Henry Patterson (1844-1922), the founder of the National Cash Register Company. In his lifetime Patterson had donated large parcels of land to the University helping it to grow and keep pace with rival institutions. Long after Patterson’s death the University was able to continue to turn to his company for donations. According to Coach Donoher, NCR executives played a crucial role as supporters of UD basketball. With Frericks, Donoher made annual visits to the NCR headquarters before each season to discuss the team’s prospects. Their hosts took it very seriously, preparing elaborate brochures to commemorate these visits. 
NCR executives sit for lunch with Coach Donoher in the “Horseshoe Room” at the corporate headquarters, “Donoher at the Horseshoe Room” Source: Don Donoher, November 17, 1967, Don Donoher Private Collection.
Not surprisingly, as the importance of business contributions to the universities declined, so did the influence private enterprise had over the system of higher education nationwide. Educational funding, federal research grants, and growth of federally supported student populations more than compensated for the retreat of corporate sponsorship, developments that financed UD’s continued prosperity. In his book Building the Ivory Tower: Universities and Metropolitan Development in the Twentieth Century, historian of higher education LaDale C. Winling traces the history of this transition from private to public funding. By 1953, federal funding for research at UD already exceeded private funds by a considerable amount, and that would remain the case until 1978. “For UD,” said one historian of the University, “that pointed to one conclusion: the University needed Uncle Sam if it planned to grow.” 
In the post-war years two broader developments also influenced the story of the arena: the growing importance of educational institutions to urban development, and the countervailing tendency of these universities to think of themselves apart from local communities and behave accordingly.