The Herald Bulletin

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July 7, 2014

Change in state law complicates efforts to save Anderson's iconic Wigwam gym

Change in state law complicates process

ANDERSON – A change in state law that took effect Tuesday has pushed the transfer date of the Wigwam complex to a group of private investors back a few days.

The original timeline had the Anderson Community Schools district transferring ownership of the historic Wigwam complex, closed since 2011, to the Anderson Redevelopment Commission on July 8. The Wigwam, which seats almost 9,000, is the world’s second-largest high school basketball gym.

The Redevelopment Commission anticipated giving ownership to the Wigwam Sports & Entertainment LLC (WSE) with the intent to reopen the facility.

Ann Marie Bauer, attorney for the Redevelopment Commission, said last week that the Indiana General Assembly changed a state law. As of July 1, the law requires the approval of the Anderson City Council for the transfer of the Wigwam to WSE.

The change in state law requires local council approval of any sale, exchange or transfer of property by redevelopment commissions.

Bauer said the transfer of the Wigwam complex to the Redevelopment Commission will still take place today. At the same time, Anderson Community School Corp. will provide $100,000 to WSE.

With the anticipated approval by the city council coming Thursday, Bauer said, the transfer of the property from the Redevelopment Commission to WSE will take place no later than July 14 and could be finalized Friday.

The Anderson City Council meets at 7 p.m. in the council chambers of the City Building.

The transfer of ownership to WSE, if approved by the council, includes the Wigwam gymnasium, educational complex, athletic field to the west, a small park-like area to the east and several lots on the south side of 14th Street.

In June, the ACS board voted to extend the date for the transfer of the Wigwam complex to the Redevelopment Commission from June 30 to July 8. The board approved a resolution to provide WSE $100,000 and to lease the facility as many as five times a year for the next 20 years at a reduced rate of $1,500.

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