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Radio host buys site of burned Brown County music hall

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A central Indiana business owner and radio show host plans on rebuilding a southern Indiana concert hall that hosted some of country music's top acts before it burned down in 2009.

Scott Wayman was the only bidder for the Little Nashville Opry site during Tuesday's Brown County commissioners tax sale, submitting the minimum bid of nearly $58,000. He'll have to wait 120 days to take possession of the site to see whether the current owner can pay about $120,000 in back taxes, The Herald-Times reported.

Wayman, who has hosted the morning show on country music station WCBK-FM of Martinsville for nearly 30 years and owns a furniture store there with his parents, said he had looked into buying the 2,000-seat hall before the fire and wants to have a similar venue there again.

"We do plan to rebuild the Opry," Wayman said. "My parents and myself, along with other friends had season tickets for years."

The concert hall along Indiana 46 burned down in 2009, and its former manager, 75-year-old James Bowyer, was charged in March with arson and intent to defraud. Court documents show the hall was insured for more than $3 million.

Bowyer has pleaded not guilty and his defense attorney has said he was convinced of Bowyer's innocence. The concert hall's owner has not been charged.

The venue opened in 1975 and had hosted performers such as Johnny Cash, George Strait, the Oak Ridge Boys and Trisha Yearwood.

Local officials have said they want to see the concert hall reopened to help draw visitors to the rural area best known for Brown County State Park and its typically bright fall colors.

Wayman said he faces a great deal of work preparing to build a new theater.

"We basically have to start over," he said.

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  • Good luck!
    I hope he is able to pull this off! I remember going there several times and really enjoyed the intimate atmosphere. Good luck to you Scott.

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  1. Once a Marion Co. commuter tax is established, I'm moving my organization out of Indianapolis. Face it, with the advancement in technology, it's getting more cost effective to have people work out of their homes. The clock is running out on the need for much of the office space in Indianapolis. Establishing a commuter tax will only advance the hands of the clock and the residents of Indianapolis will be left to clean up the mess they created on their own, with much less resources.

  2. The 2013 YE financial indicates the City of Indianapolis has over $2 B in assets and net position of $362.7 M. All of these assets have been created and funded by taxpayers. In 2013 they took in $806 M in revenues. Again, all from tax payers. Think about this, Indianapolis takes in $800 M per year and they do not have enough money? The premise that government needs more money for services is false.

  3. As I understand it, the idea is to offer police to live in high risk areas in exchange for a housing benefit/subsidy of some kind. This fact means there is a choice for the officer(s) to take the offer and receive the benefit. In terms of mandating living in a community, it is entirely reasonable for employers to mandate public safety officials live in their community. Again, the public safety official has a choice, to live in the area or to take another job.

  4. The free market will seek its own level. If Employers cannot hire a retain good employees in Marion Co they will leave and set up shop in adjacent county. Marion Co already suffers from businesses leaving I would think this would encourage more of the same.

  5. We gotta stop this Senior crime. Perhaps long jail terms for these old boozers is in order. There are times these days (more rather than less) when this state makes me sick.

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