The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Local Business

July 8, 2014

Wigwam deal falls apart

School board sets Sept. 2 as deadline

ANDERSON, Ind. — The fate of the Wigwam, a landmark in Anderson, is back in limbo when a group of private investors backed out of the deal at the last minute.

Wigwam Sports & Entertainment (WSE) was scheduled to receive ownership of the Wigwam complex from the Anderson Redevelopment Commission by July 14, but informed city officials Tuesday it would not accept the facility.

WSE has been working for more than two years to secure ownership of the Wigwam, and was believed to have raised $600,000 to reopen the facility.

The Anderson Community School Corp. board was expected to transfer ownership of the building to the Redevelopment Commission on Tuesday, a transfer that didn’t take place.

Instead, the school board on Tuesday approved a resolution giving the Redevelopment Commission until Sept. 2 to take ownership of the Wigwam, one day before the demolition bids accepted by ACS earlier this year are set to expire.

The ACS board resolution requires the Redevelopment Commission to pay $10,000 a month for maintenance and utility costs for the Wigwam through Sept. 2.

The school system's offer to provide $100,000 to any party willing to accept ownership of the Wigwam by the Sept. 2 date is still valid.

If ownership is not transferred to the Redevelopment Commission by Sept. 2, the school board authorized Kevin Brown, chief financial officer, to execute contracts to demolish the building.

Anderson Mayor Kevin Smith said he remains hopeful the iconic Wigwam can be saved.

“The future rests in the hands of private investors that can make it a viable building that produces revenues,” he said. “There are some difficulties. I don’t count the project out.”

Smith said he believes that WSE may still have a role in the future of the Wigwam and that required environmental assessments were not done to secure the needed financing.

“We’re working to resolve some issues,” he said. “I believe they can be overcome. Right now the focus is on private investors.”

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