Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

December 26, 2012

Kennel invests in Grissom project

Former military dining hall turned into large-scale event center.

By Carson Gerber

GRISSOM AEROPLEX — A local dog-training business has poured more than $500,000 into renovating six buildings at Grissom Aeroplex to create a new event center and lodging quarters. The center, called Milestone Event Center, opened in November.

Vohne Liche Kennels, a full-service K-9 training facility based in Denver, purchased earlier this year four dormitories and a former dining hall that originally served as military facilities at Grissom Air Reserve Base.  

Ken Licklider, founder and owner of Vohne Liche Kennels, said the company purchased the buildings in the spring and immediately began full-scale renovations on the structures. The buildings had sat vacant for the last three years after the property was deeded to the Miami County Economic Development Authority.

He said construction on the Milestone Event Center finished in November. Since then, it has already hosted four events.

Taylor Licklider, director of operations for the center, said the facility can be rented for receptions, parties, meetings or any other kind event. She said the 5,800-square-foot building holds up to 500 people, and includes a bar, dance floor and stage.

Ken Licklider said renovations are complete on one of the dormitories, and a second should be finished in January. He said the facilities currently serve as lodging for trainers at Vohne Licke Kennels, but will eventually be opened for public use. The event center will also be used to host seminars, parties and classes for Vohne Liche employees, he said.  

Over the next two years, Ken Licklider said he plans to fully renovate all the dorms, which will have in total more than 350 rooms. He said the company also plans to install a pool, and wants to create a college-campus feel for the complex of buildings.

“When we’re done with all the renovations, the sky’s the limit on what we can do with this campus,” he said.

Ken Licklider said he was unsure how much it will cost to complete the project, but said he would invest “whatever it takes” to finish renovations.

Carson Gerber is a Kokomo Tribune reporter. He may be reached by phone at 765-854-6739, or by email at carson.gerber@kokomotribune.com.