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Bloomington Mayor Mark Kruzan – March 2010

Bloomington's mayor is vowing to work on radio station WFHB's behalf with the John Waldron Arts Center's next owner.

Bloomington’s mayor agrees that the sale of the John Waldron Arts Center could be disastrous for radio station WFHB if done the wrong way, but is vowing to work on the station’s behalf with the building’s next owner.  Speaking on WFIU’s “Ask the Mayor,” Mark Kruzan said even though a study committee determined that fair market value to rent the radio station’s space would be about $800 — several times more than the station’s current $125-a-month bill — he doesn’t envision WFHB General Manager Will Murphy’s scenario that greatly increased rent eventually overstretches an already taut bottom line.  But at the same time, the Mayor said Murphy’s desire to acquire a deed to a portion of the building will likely fall by the wayside.

“I can’t see how that works,” Kruzan said.  “I do think that Will has got a point.  Eight times the rent would probably be a hollow promise to say ‘Yes, WFHB has a home,’ but de facto you’re going to have to leave because you’re not going to be able to afford this rent.”

Kruzan says he and WFHB management will meet Monday to discuss concerns about turnover of the building from the city to its next owner — a transition Kruzan says he hopes to complete before summer. The city will formally assume control of the Waldron and its assets March 31st when it pays the Bloomington Area Arts Council $150,000, which the heavily-indebted organization must use within 30 days to get out of the red.

This month we’re asking all our mayors how they see the stimulus package a year later. Columbus and Terre Haute’s heads didn’t have the best things to say about the process and payoff, so we’ll see if Mayor Kruzan shares these sentiments.

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