ANDERSON — The clock is ticking on any effort to save the famed Wigwam for future use, but a decision on whether or not to move forward with the effort has to be made by March 1.
Last week Anderson Mayor Kevin Smith appointed a Blue Ribbon Study Committee to look at the possible rehabilitation and reuse of the Wigwam complex.
The Wigwam complex is owned by the Anderson Community School System, which will demolish the structure unless a buyer is found.
Greg Winkler, director of the city’s Economic Development Department, said because the Wigwam is such a huge complex, the use as a venue for sporting events is only a part of the mix.
Terry Thimlar, a former high school basketball coach in Indiana, is hoping to place an NBA D-League developmental team in the facility.
Winkler said Thimlar has started a legal entity that can sell shares and solicit contributions for the effort. Some funds have been raised and Thimlar continues to attempt to raise money, which is placed in an escrow account and would be returned to investors if the project doesn’t proceed.
He said Thimlar has developed relationships with NBA teams.
Thimlar said Friday the financial commitments on the project are moving forward, with investors expressing an interest from across Indiana and the U.S.
“We have been working on this for a long time,” he said. “Our plan is to bring it back to life as a vital part of the Anderson community.”
Thimlar said the complex is being considered for concerts, conventions and trade shows in addition to the potential use of sporting events.
He said the schools and the city don’t want to take financial responsibility for the Wigwam complex, something the investor group is willing to undertake.
“There is a lot of potential for viable uses,” Thimlar said.