What to do with a circa-1915 building already listed on the National Register of Historic Places in Bloomington is the topic of a recently-released task force report. The Waldron Recommendation Task Force was assembled last year by Mayor John Hamilton to prepare for the transition of ownership of the former city hall building from Ivy Tech Community Community College to the city of Bloomington.
Last June, Ivy Tech announced ownership of the building would revert back to the city. Ivy Tech had used the building as a community arts center.
The city says the 21-member task force consulted with several specialized stakeholder groups in January of this year to develop recommendations for the building
The task force has recommended “leveraging the building to its fullest extent to support the performing and visual arts in the community.” The task force’s three specific recommendations include:
- Extend the initial short-term use period to five years, allowing arts organizations utilizing the facility a secure, yet temporary opportunity to rebuild operation revenue post-pandemic. Provide minimum yet adequate funding for general upkeep and maintenance of the building.
- Continue public ownership of the building throughout the five-year short-term use period, through the creation of a new Cultural Improvement Corporation, which should oversee both the Waldron and the Buskirk-Chumley Theater and seek venue management from interested organizations, one proposal for which has already been received.
- Commission a third-party study to determine type, size, location, and cost for a future arts facility to be built within the downtown region, ultimately replacing the need for the Waldron as an arts facility.
The city of Bloomington says the report also includes an appraisal of the property at $2.8 million, with estimates of capital investments needed to maintain the building of $264,000 and an extra $251,000 in lower priority needs.
“I sincerely appreciate the co-chairs and all the task force members who volunteered their time and expertise to participate in a process with significant bearing on the continued economic vitality of our downtown, and our celebrated, and beloved — and recently very challenged — arts community,” said Mayor Hamilton.