How do we save the iconic downtown State Farm building?
Sure, you say, we could put a casino at ground level, a strip club above it and a marijuana dispensary higher up and rent the rest. But those things won't work: no parking.
But creative minds can save this building without vice. I offer my idea gratis straight to Michael Tipsord, the guy at State Farm who can make it happen.
State Farm sells the building to the city for $1 and avoids the high cost, and a year-long traffic headache, to demolish it.
In return, State Farm, which we graciously allowed to use our city to grow from a seed into a multi-billion mega-insurer, pays off our debt on Grossinger Motors Arena.
We rebate 5 percent of State Farm's yearly property taxes paid to the city and county. (Schools are exempt because they need the money to educate State Farm's kids.) I figure that's about $18 million that we'd re-pay State Farm by tax rebate. State Farm also gets a tax write-off for its donation of the other $18 million.
I'm seeing this as a win-win. State Farm lowers its tax bill. City Hall relieves itself of some of the ill-will from taxpayers mad for it having built the arena in the first place. The city and county get office space they can use or lease to finance maintenance. And we save one of Bloomington's most beautiful buildings.
What do you say, Mr. Tipsord? How about being a good neighbor?
Randy Kull, Bloomington