Henrietta, N.Y.— The Dome Arena, also called The Fair and Expo Center, is up for sale.
This means organizers of several events, including the Monroe County Fair, are looking for a new venue.
The Fair and Expo Center is made up of the fairgrounds, the Dome Arena and Minett Hall. The Center is owned by The Monroe County Fair and Recreation Association, a non-profit organization.
For the past 25 years, the Better Contractor’s Bureau has hosted their annual Home Fair Expo at the Dome Arena.
The BCB’s executive director, Carmen Santora, knew there was something wrong when he submitted his application and deposit in to the Dome Arena and never heard back.
When Santora called, he was told, “We're not sending anyone's contracts back. We have some issues; we're adjusting."
Board members for the Dome Arena decided earlier this week that the entire property, the dome and the fairgrounds, would be put up for sale.
At this time, the Dome Arena will only host and book events until the end of 2012.
It is uncertain who has placed bids for the property and whether or not they will continue to operate the facility as it is. If the new owners decided to demolish the facility, Santora says he feels it will negatively affect the county and Henrietta.
“Out of the 300 exhibitors we get, a good 60 to 70 vendors come from out of town,” Santora says. “They all stay at Henrietta hotels and eat at the restaurants. So if this facility closes, I don't know what the new buyer would open. It would probably affect all these businesses out there.”
Henrietta Town Supervisor Michael Yudelson isn’t surprised by the announcement.
“We do know, that for years, they have had financial difficulties,” says Henrietta Town Supervisor Michael Yudelson. “There have been talks, that as of late, the board has taken a hard look at their financial situation and what they're going to do.”
Still, Yudelson doesn’t think the loss to the community will be that great.
“We really don't have any hard data, just what people [at the Dome] have said about the business it brings to the county and Henrietta,” Yudelson says. “We don't really know that with certainly.”
Yudelson says he does know that the Dome Arena has been struggling.
“[The news of the sale] is not surprising because they've had financial difficulty for many years,” he says. “They've had a lot of improvements they've done, but that comes with a cost.”
In 2010, the most recent record available, the Dome Arena booked 33 events.
It took in almost $1.2 million dollars but spent more than that and lost $308,000.
The BCB says it will still host the 2013 Home Fair Expo, but it’s looking for a new location.
Jesse McCarthy, the executive director of The Monroe County Fair and Recreation Association, says the organization made a tough decision to sell the property. He says MCFRA will now focus on its mission statement of advancing youth, agriculture and technology.
MCFRA will continue to operate the Monroe County Fair but the new location has not been determined.
McCarthy says that MCFRA, like many non-profits, have struggled as a result of the economic downturn.