The city of Bloomington is continuing its push to utilize a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization to oversee the construction and ongoing management of an expansion to the Monroe Convention Center. In a memo dated Nov. 23, the city says a nonprofit “holds the greatest potential for achieving a successful convention center expansion that will be architecturally significant, appropriately sized and fitted, and completed in an efficient and timely manner.”
An expansion of the convention center has been in the works for several years. The city passed a 1% food and beverage tax to help fund the project, which has also received support from the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce and outgoing mayor John Hamilton.
The push for a 501(c)3 is in response to some who believe a Capital Improvement Board to oversee the expansion.
The Monroe County Commissioners on Nov. 9 approved an ordinance to establish a CIB, though the ordinance will expire on Jan. 1, 2023 if it is not endorsed by the Bloomington City Council and Mayor Hamilton’s administration.
The memo outlines 15 recommendations to update the ordinance that the city says “could potentially be a workable framework” to complete the expansion. However, the city still says the nonprofit option “is more likely to succeed in launching a timely and high-quality expansion.”
The memo notes that the current convention center has been operated by a 501(c)6 nonprofit organization for the past 30 years without issue, and proposing a 501(c)3 is better suited to the design and building phases of expansion.
The city proposes a series of steps to ensure accountability and transparency in the convention center’s operation if a nonprofit moves forward, including creating a specific advisory board for the expansion, holding monthly meetings open to the public, and adhering to Indiana Open Door Law practices.
The memo says the expansion could take three years to complete between the launch of a nonprofit to lead the project and the opening of the new facility. The city believes using a CIB approach could take “substantially longer.”
You can read the full memo by clicking here.