#HomeGrownStories – Ken Siler
Ken Siler grew up in Troy and has lived here almost his entire life. For the past 14 years, Ken has served as the Director of Recreation and Manager of Hobart Arena for the city of Troy. The arena recently underwent a major renovation. Improvements will assist the arena in offering recreational opportunities for the community.
On living in Miami County:
I grew up in Troy and went to Troy High School. I didn’t live in the county for a few a years while I was in college. After college, I worked up in the city of Cleveland for about three years. I moved back here in 1995 and I’ve been here ever since. My family is from Troy and I have a few family members that still live in the area. Most of them have moved away but they visit often.
About Hobart Arena:
Hobart Arena was built in 1950. It was part of a recreational plan that included Miami Shores Golf Course and Troy Memorial Stadium. The arena was opened in September 1950 and was the site of many concerts and events in the 1950s and 60s. The arena hosted some of the biggest acts in the country at that time.
Most recently we have finished our latest renovation a couple months ago. It was a 10 million dollar renovation. It’s improved the user experience for our patrons. We also wanted to improve the space for event producers that use our venue for their events. The goals of the renovation were to address many of the shortfalls of the building. We made improvements to the flow of pedestrian traffic, concessions and restroom facilities. We also improved back of house and maintenance areas.
On Hobart Arena’s offerings to Miami County and beyond:
The arena offers a variety of events. There are concerts and other events. It also serves as a recreational center. We offer public skating and the Troy Skating Club offers lessons. We have a youth hockey program and an indoor soccer program. We host concerts, home shows, business expos, cheerleading competitions, skating competitions. We’ve held a couple of Irish dance competitions. We host graduation ceremonies for local high schools.
The facility is open to the public on a daily basis for people to walk in here for general exercise. They can get out of the sun and heat during summer and out of the cold during winter. During the winter we have approximately 250 people walk in here a day for exercise. Eight laps of the corridor equal about a mile. Some people walk here during their lunch break or in the evening after work. We also have sports teams that do their training and conditioning here in the evening.
The events at Hobart Arena draw a lot of people here from outside of Miami County and outside of the state of Ohio. As part of the renovation we completed, we added a multi-purpose room. This space can help accommodate events in the arena and it can be rented. It can be used for graduation parties, reunions, corporate events, and speaking engagements.
On his time working at Hobart Arena:
I’ve worked here for approximately 22 years. I started here in 1995 as the Assistant Director of Recreation. In 2003 I was promoted to Director of Recreation as well as the Manager of the arena. Our department oversees Hobart Arena, the Troy Aquatic Park, and the Troy Recreation Department. The Recreation Department oversees programs in our city parks. We oversee many things even though we have a small staff. We feel like we do a very good job of providing a quality service to our citizens.
On the community response to the recent renovation to Hobart Arena:
The community response has been overwhelmingly positive. We’ve had several events since the completion of the project. In late May we had an open house. We estimate that about 400 people came to walk through the building that evening. We were very pleasantly surprised with the turnout.
What he enjoys most about Miami County:
What I like most about Miami County is the small hometown feel. We have very significant community involvement and nice downtown areas. It’s nice to be able to walk downtown and see a friendly face. There are great activities that Troy provides downtown and along our recreational corridor.
His Miami County recommendations for out-of-town visitors:
I would direct folks to downtown Troy to visit our businesses and restaurants. Often people don’t make it to that area of our city. They tend to only see the area that’s closest to the interstate and not other parts of our community.
We have a lot of recreational opportunities with our Miami County Parks and the Miami River Corridor. WACO Museum and Brukner Nature Center are great. We have a lot of things to offer that a lot of communities our size would love to have.
Ways for out-of-town visitors to experience Hobart Area:
We would love to have people attend one of our concerts. Our concerts and a lot of our competitions draw people from all over the country. We have dance and skating competitions that bring people from all over the Midwest. We have events that not only pull people from Troy and Miami County but from all over the state and all the country.
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