The Herald Bulletin

December 7, 2013

Editorial: Putting Wigwam back into use a goal worth pursuing

The Herald Bulletin

---- — Anderson's Economic Development Department has put together a committee to find a way to use the Wigwam that will save it without creating an economic hardship.

It is a challenge as big as the group's name: the Blue Ribbon Community Committee for the Rehabilitation and Reuse of the Wigwam. It is a worthy endeavor but one that has a clock ticking in the background from the beginning as Anderson Community Schools wants something done in the next calender year, or else the historic structure is likely to be demolished.

Terry Thimlar, a former coach at Muncie Central, is part of a group investigating ways to make use of the facility. He says he has investors and ideas he can put into motion. One of those ideas is to bring an NBA Developmental League team to Anderson to play its home games in the Wigwam.

That is an interesting idea, despite it having a "been there, done that" feel to it. The Alley Cats were a pro team that played in the Wigwam in the 2006-07 season as part of the Continental Basketball Association. Attendance was limited to around 450 to 500 per contest.

The NBA-D League is stocked with teams based in cities far larger than Anderson, including the Pacers affiliate in Fort Wayne. But there are a couple of cities of similar size and one considerably smaller, so success here isn't out of the question.

Certainly not all of the eggs are in that basketball, but bringing a team to this city, especially if it is supported by ticket sales, would be a win-win situation for the city and the Wigwam.

The future of the second largest high school gymnasium in the world is an emotional one for this community. A solution that opens the doors again and potentially brings additional income to the city would be a good move for all who care about the Wigwam.

In summary While it is commendable to search for ways to save the Wigwam that make good economic sense, the prospects of doing with a pro basketball team seem like a bad case of been there, done that.