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City council supportive of plan to sell arts center to Ivy Tech

Members ask questions about details of plan

By Michael Malik 331-4370 |
April 15, 2010

Ivy Tech Community College’s planned purchase of the John Waldron Arts Center was met with questions from Bloomington’s City Council members Wednesday night.

While many of the council members had questions about the deal, which has to be approved by the council before the purchase can go forward, council members voiced support for the plan.

The questions largely were about the city’s agreement with Ivy Tech.

Margie Rice, city attorney, said the city and Ivy Tech have an agreement in principle and that the final language for the agreement would be worked out in the next 24 to 48 hours.

“I think the agreement will not surprise anybody,” Rice said. “It’s going to incorporate exactly what the public has asked for.”

Ivy Tech agreed to purchase the building’s assets from the city for $150,000.

The deal will allow the community college to operate the building as a community arts center and provide a rent-free space for local radio station WFHB, while also basing some of its arts education coursework in the building.
The deal still has to be approved by the Bloomington City Council and Ivy Tech’s state board of trustees. The council will likely have a final vote on the matter next Wednesday. Ivy Tech’s state board will likely discuss the deal today.

City councilman Steve Volan asked if any restrictions will be placed on Ivy Tech regarding the college putting up signs on the building.

Rice said there are restrictions, including that Ivy Tech cannot rename the building.

“They are free to install signage that is consistent with their ownership,” Rice said.

Ivy Tech will have several deed restrictions on the property, including one that stipulates 70 percent of the Waldron’s space be used as a community arts center and that WFHB have a space there.

The $150,000 from Ivy Tech will refund the money the city used to buy the Waldron from the Bloomington Area Arts Council in March.

The arts council and city officials agreed to a deal in early March that saved the building from being shuttered amid the art council’s financial struggles and mounting debt. Also, the city forgave the $270,000 note it held on the building.

The arts council had a mortgage with the city worth $270,000 when the city gave the building to the arts council in 1990. The agreement at that time was that the arts council would not have to pay off the debt provided it maintained the Waldron for at least 30 years as an arts center.

The March deal also stated the arts council had to use the city’s $150,000, which came from tax increment financing district funds, to pay off its debt.

Copyright: 2010