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The Lodge Gets OK to Become Place for Creative Arts in Dayton

The old Mason Lodge that rises prominently from Sixth Avenue in Dayton is one of the city's most impressive buildings.

But at last week's meeting of the board of adjustments, which was considering a proposal by the building's owner to turn it into a full-time center for creative artists & musicians, the real highlight of the building was that it appears to have been the location where Walk The Moon wrote its new hit album. The band has even given the location shout-outs in national media like NBC and Rolling Stone.

Scott Beseler explains his plans for The Lodge at the Dayton Board of Adjustments meeting last week (RCN)

Whether The Lodge, as it is known, is a place that creatives would trek to was not up for question. That much was already clear. The questions were more of the typical at such meetings: how will it accommodate parking, noise, neighbors?

The board unanimously gave owner Scott Beseler approval for his plans.

Five years ago, Beseler used some of the money he received in an inheritance following the death of his father to purchase the nearly 100-year old structure that has been mostly vacant since the turn of the millennium. He has generated income through the property through such un-sexy tasks as storing voting machines there for Campbell County. But it has also already been a de facto creative center.

"We have a lot of musicians that have seen the space and used the space and it's been a really great place for them to work and everyone is appreciative of that," Beseler said last week. There is a recording studio and an opportunity for bands to record live albums with small audiences there. The Lodge will also host artists in a gallery. Noise won't be an issue because the upper floor, where the music will be played, features 22-inch thick brick walls, Beseler said.

The meeting at the Dayton Board of Education was unusually crowded, an example of the support and enthusiasm around The Lodge.

Those who have worked with Beseler or who live nearby spoke out in favor of the proposed zoning change for the space to allow it to be described as an art gallery. 

-Michael Monks, editor & publisher