An Illinois Wesleyan University Economist says estimates of the one to two million dollar a year economic benefit from the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts are probably fairly accurate. IWU Scholar Diego Mendez Carbajo says reality is probably somewhere in the middle. The one million dollar estimate comes from the Convention and Visitors Bureau and uses commercial modeling software. It does not include some potential effects of patron spending. The other estimate is from the group Americans for the Arts. It does not use Bloomington-Normal specific data, but generates an estimate based on similar communities.
In its budget discussions, the city council is considering a variety of options including cuts to staff and benefits at the BCPA. Carbajo says it might not be a dollar for dollar match in cuts between staff and economic benefit. Carbajo says cutting the BCPA by a set amount might create a bigger effect on the economy. He says it's not clear when cuts to the institution might severely impact its ability to do the work
Carbajo says anything that keeps visitors away from Bloomington Normal is not good news for economic activity. He says without a strong Coliseum and BCPA there could be no demand for a downtown hotel.
The City Council will likely pass a new budget in April.