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BCPA Never Meant To Turn Profit

The BCPA and its front lawn.
Ralph Weisheit

Bloomington's Mayor is vowing to veto any effort to close the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts (BCPA). When asked about closing it, Tari Renner told Mike McCurdy during GLT's Sound Ideas "that's not happening."  Renner also said he would veto closing the BCPA's Creative Center.

"Jesse Smart, former mayor for 12 years, a self-proclaimed conservative Republican, made it clear last week. He said 'this was never meant to pay for itself; it is a critical amenity to our downtown, to our overall community and the city needs to understand this is a quality life issue,'" said Renner. "I would totally agree." 

Renner said that doesn't mean that he wouldn't approve a budget with come cuts or look for opportunities like coordinating artist bookings with U.S. Cellular Coliseum.  He is not in favor of eroding the budget to the point of creating a situation of less expensive acts, perhaps of lesser quality, bringing fewer patrons.

"It (the BCPA) obviously brings a lot to the community," said Renner. "They (BCPA patrons) shop in our shops, they go to our restaurants, they stay overnight. So there's definitely an economic impact."

City of Bloomington Alderman and staff are reviewing community budget task force recommendations that could trim the budget. Those recommendations including cutting or closing the BCPA, privatizing or selling one of the city's 3 golf courses, and addressing a deficit the solid waste fund.

Renner puts the BCPA on the list of destinations and community amenities that helps attract visitors and residents to Bloomington-Normal.

"We can't just strip Bloomington down to its core," said Renner.

Hear the complete section of the Sound Ideas interview about the BCPA.

Clarification: Illinois Wesleyan University Associate Professor of Economics Diego Mendez-Carbajo's middle and last names were transposed during the interview.