The signs aren't up yet, but the Sylvania Sports & Exhibition Center at Tam O'Shanter has hosted its first event and has more booked for next year.
It's not a bad start for an enterprise that was first only mentioned as a possibility earlier this year, according to marketing manager Jamie Moan.
Earlier this month about 200 people from Young Life, a Christian youth organization, had its annual banquet at the facility. Mr. Moan said everyone seemed to enjoy the catered meal and activities.
One asset the site can promote is including the use of the basketball court and other features of Tam O'Shanter, he said.
The idea of utilizing the fieldhouse addition to Tam O'Shanter for other than athletic events was raised after the site was used for a campaign stop by Vice President Dick Cheney about a year ago.
The use was deemed a success and led officials of the Sylvania Area Joint Recreation District, which operates the facility, to think of expanding its use.
The organization is about to enter into a contract to get needed fire-suppression systems installed and an expanded doorway to comply with fire codes for larger groups.
Mr. Moan said there is also a discussion of installing an entrance doorway, perhaps with a canopy, so those who are arriving just for the use of the center don't need to walk through the lobby and hall that primarily serve the building's two ice rinks.
Charles Contrada, who is an officer of the recreation district, said that the idea of expanding uses is to add to revenue by keeping the taxpayer-purchased building busier through the year. The use also provides what is in effect a new asset for the community.
Beginning at this time of year, the field house becomes busy almost constantly with indoor soccer, lacrosse, and basketball games. The sports are played by youth leagues and by loosely-organized groups of adults.
Mr. Contrada said there is no intention of allowing the non-athletic events to interfere with sports activities at the facility.
Mr. Moan said rates for rental of nonathletic events will be tailored for different uses.
Soccer teams pay anywhere from $50 to $120 an hour for the field, and basketball teams pay from $20 to $50, he said.
He said that allows for a general sense of what to charge groups renting the facility, but there are a number of factors that will be taken into consideration, such as the nature of the organization.
Much of the early use has been directed at local groups such as school booster clubs and there are discussions about its use as an after-prom venue.
In April the Sylvania Area Chamber of Commerce will use the site for its Business Expo, and The Greater Toledo Obedience Club will hold a dog show at the site in May.
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