UPDATE (7 p.m.) - Mayor Tari Renner comments on the decision to terminate Bloomington's management agreement with VenuWorks.
BLOOMINGTON (HOI) -- VenuWorks and the City of Bloomington have agreed to terminate the contract to manage the Grossinger Motors Arena due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, according to a release by city officials.
Management functions for the taxpayer-owned downtown arena will move to existing city staff and currently, scheduled events are not affected.
The city government was paying VenuWorks $114,000 a year.
While the city's news release indicated the COVID-19 pandemic was the reason for the move, Mayor Tari Renner described it as a "public policy decision" to "more effectively deliver programming to the community at the arena."
Termination of the agreement is effective June 8, pending approval by the Bloomington City Council.
According to the mayor, there's no interest right now from the private sector to buy the facility, which for years, lost money when it was operated by two management firms.
The agreement with VenuWorks, entered in April 2016, provides full-service management for the arena. Services include operations, programming, finance and administration, food and beverage, and sales and marketing.
City Manager Tim Gleason said he expects a seamless transition.
“We have been a proud partner of the city of Bloomington since 2016. However, we understand the need to suspend our operations at the arena,” said Steve Peters, President of VenuWorks.
“The city is grateful to VenuWorks for their dedicated service over the years. They’ve been valued partners,” said Gleason in a prepared statement.
“Current circumstances due to COVID-19 are limiting events at the arena and other venues, however. The arena will continue to function at allowable capacity. The city will bring management of the facility in-house for the time being and evaluate our options going forward," said Gleason.
"The city is fortunate to have many talented employees that can assist with the operation of the arena during this time,” Gleason also said.