Bloomington restricts candidates for on-site entertainment director

BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) – The city of Bloomington is restricting applicants for its director of entertainment and the arts.

Deputy City Manager Billy Tyus said it’s a role city staff hope will bring new life to the city’s arena and performing arts center.

Two years ago, the city ended its agreement with a third-party management company operating the arena. Since then, it has been the responsibility of city staff to perform shows at Grossinger Motors Arena and the Bloomington Center for Performing Arts.

Tyus said the city has consolidated the operational aspect into the city’s responsibility and is creating a new department to focus on the entertainment aspect.

Over the years since its construction, the arena has lost money. Tyus said it’s no secret, but as far as he knows, most arenas and venues around the country are running with some kind of loss.

β€œThe profits and losses at the arena or at the BCPA are not the only way to determine whether or not these buildings are important to our community. People who come to the shows also eat at local restaurants, buy gas at local gas stations, stay at local hotels, and shop at local stores,” Tyus said.

Currently, no major shows are scheduled for the arena, but it still hosts IIHSA state wrestling and cheerleading competitions. It will also be the site of the Saturday Farmers Markets once the weather cools.

On the other hand, there seems to be a full season of shows at the BCPA, including trumpeter Rodney Marsalis next month, a Johnny Cash tribute show in October and Sara Evans also in October.

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