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City, Ivy Tech to make announcement on Waldron's fate Monday

By Michael Malik
331-4370 |
April 11, 2010

An announcement regarding the John Waldron Arts Center is expected Monday from Bloomington city and Ivy Tech Community College officials.

Ivy Tech’s presence at the announcement appears to confirm reports that the community college will be the new owner of the building.

Mayor Mark Kruzan, Ivy Tech Community College Bloomington Chancellor John Whikehart and Will Murphy, general manager of community radio station WFHB, will speak at the announcement at 10 a.m. Monday in the Waldron’s auditorium.

Monday’s expected announcement of a new owner could end a several-months-long saga about the building, its future and what role the building will play in Bloomington’s arts community.

The Bloomington Area 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. The city paid $150,000 as part of the deal for the building’s assets. 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 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.

The city took ownership of the building March 31. Kruzan said at the time the city hoped to have a new owner in place as soon as possible.

A new owner 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 the radio station WFHB have a space there.

On Jan. 7, the arts council announced it needed to raise $120,000 or it would be forced to close the Waldron March 1. Since then, all paid staff members at the Waldron have been laid off and volunteers are running its operations.

The public is invited to attend Monday’s announcement.

John Waldron Arts Center
The John Waldron Arts Center. Jeremy Hogan | Herald-Times

Copyright: 2010