Arena – Will Gleason shut it down?

By:  Diane Benjamin

The local paper has an editorial declaring the new City Manager the right guy because Decatur re-did their downtown.  They think Normal did, so there is no reason Bloomington can’t.

They forgot Normal was in ZERO debt before they spent around $100,000,000 on Uptown.  (Is that restaurant space on the Circle still empty?)  Bloomington has already spent that much on the Coliseum and the BCPA and has next to nothing to show for it.

If Gleason wants to help downtown Bloomington, the fastest way is to fire VenuWorks and quit pretending Bloomington will ever support an arena.  The Ice Center (still no naming rights sponsor) needs more ice, give it to Parks and Rec.  No more sports teams, they draw very few people.  Occasional community events can be held there, nothing else.

VenuWorks has quarterly reports for the year ending 4/30/2018 on the City website.  It’s amusing that none of them have year-to-date dollars!  That’s because the totals are despicable and proves it should be shut down.


See the Quarterly statement here:

Keep in mind, the audited losses will be much higher, depreciation is not included in this loss.

Go back to the “feasibility study” before it was built.

It should make the Council doubtful of EVERY study they commission, sadly it won’t.

The Coliseum study predicted revenues of $7,1000,000 and operating expenses of $4,800,000 for a glorious profit of $2.300,000, which would cover the bonds to build it.

Instead, the 1/4% Sales Tax increase taxpayers AGREED to for the BCPA has been partially diverted to the bonds.

Total Revenue was only off $5,000,000!

Will Tim Gleason have the guts to shut it down?  The Council ignored all my stories and my lawsuit which proved the previous manager was stealing money.  David Hales was never held accountable for not overseeing operations.

Don’t forget you still need to pay for an elevator on the outside because the building isn’t ADA compliant.

The citizens forced to cover the losses for more than a decade know the arena is a failure.  They know it continues to SUCK tax dollars.  If Gleason wants money for downtown, here’s where he can get some.  Quit funding anyone to run the arena.  The Council needs to open their eyes and realize it was a mistake to build and way past time to admit and fix it.

Hopefully the Council will remember this “feasibility study” when the sports complex study comes back with predictions of greatness.

It won’t be close to accurate either.










11 thoughts on “Arena – Will Gleason shut it down?

  1. It’s that simple? Just shut it down? Then what? Let it rot? I agree the process to build it was flawed, and the current operating loses should be smaller (time to re-examine VenuWorks), but let’s face it: it will never turn a profit and won’t be “shut down” (whatever that means). It’s a tax-payer subsidized quality of life amenity (like golf courses). The question you should be asking is “how do we make it better?”

    1. Rich—do your homework. The golf courses break even on operation g costs. The other entertainment venues lose millions annually on their operating costs. Apple to oranges. Quality of life also includes the ability to put food on the table.

    2. We lose more money with it open than closed, Rich. It’s time to cut our losses on this one. It’s a money pit that will never, ever, never turn around. The arena has several “second chances” and has gotten worse. Pull the plug.

  2. Rich: IF you lived here then and HAVE a memory her highness Judy Markowitz PROMISED us that NO taxpayer dollars would be used in this money sucking vortex!
    HAve YOU been to the arena? IT SUCKS! They can’t even keep a team there, let alone ICE!
    And besides country singers WHO of note has played there? Braden or Hancock has had better shows!

  3. Diane, you are SO optimistic! I predict Gleason will it nicely into status quo. That’s why Tari chose him.

  4. I have to agree with Cavewoman also..ugh. You are right on about the Arena, it should NEVER have been built. Mayor Judy bulldozed that thru, regardless of the majority of taxpayers were against it. But now what to do? Is shutting it down really an option?

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