The company that now runs Bloomington’s downtown arena may soon be taking over the city's performing arts venue too.
The Bloomington City Council on Oct. 9 will hear about a plan to hire VenuWorks to manage the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts (BCPA). VenuWorks would be paid $36,000 annually through 2021.
VenuWorks took over operations at Grossinger Motors Arena (formerly the U.S. Cellular Coliseum) in April 2016. That venue’s former management company now faces allegations of fraud and mismanagement.
“We see the potential for great efficiencies with this possible arrangement,” Jay Tetzloff, director of the City’s Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Arts department, said in a statement Monday.
By using some of the same staff between both venues, the city says it expects to save $200,000 annually on personnel costs. The BCPA’s spends about $1.1 million annually on personnel, including full-time staff. There are several positions vacant/open at the arena and the BCPA, said Lynn Cannon, executive director of Grossinger Motors Arena. The BCPA’s full-time staff would be offered jobs with VenuWorks, she said.
“There’s an opportunity to expand people’s positions and expand their responsibilities. I think this is a great opportunity internally as well as the community at large,” Cannon told GLT.
The city also hopes to be able to better coordinate bookings between the two venues. Some of that coordination is already taking place, said Cannon. Being part of VenuWorks will give the BCPA more opportunities to book shows coming through the Midwest, she added.
“One of the advantages is we’d be able to route shows throughout VenuWorks buildings in the Midwest. We have several venues of similar size to the BCPA, where we’d be able to book an act where they’d do four or five of our venues in one fell swoop,” said Cannon.
Management of the city-owned Creativity Center is not anticipated to be part of the proposal.
“The Friends of the BCPA is pleased that the City of Bloomington is reviewing and pursuing management options for the BCPA and the Creativity Center. We appreciate the placement of this on the city’s list of priorities while they have such extremely busy calendars,” Vicki Tilton, president of the Friends of the BCPA, said in a statement Monday.
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