Taxpayers concerned about footing bill for new Bucks arena
WTMJ News Team
Charles Benson reportsPhoto: Video by tmj4.com
MILWAUKEE- Major changes are coming to the Bradley Center and the biggest is the name.
The arena is now called the BMO Harris Bradley Center. Businesses donated $20 million for renovations.
But U.S. Senator and Bucks owner Herb Kohl says a new arena is really what's needed. Kohl has repeatedly said he's willing to put in his own money and the business community seems willing to help.
As for taxpayers, we're told it's too early to say how much a new facility will cost and how much they may have to pay.
As the Milwaukee Bucks and the business community begin the debate on a new arena, they might want to thumb through the controversial chapters of building Miller Park.
Tim Sheehy remembers those lessons well. "What we've learned is that the private sector comes first, the commitment from the owner and then you share this idea and the concept as you try to build public support," recalled Tim Sheehy, president of the Milwaukee Metropolitan Association of Commerce.
Sheehy knows building public support will be critical in getting taxpayers to contribute something. "I haven't seen an arena come up without that and I think that's a likely possibility," said Sheehy.
For Brewers fans, the debate over a new facility for the Milwaukee Bucks might seem like deja vu.
Brian Brehm remembers those days. He's ready for another debate. "I think that will be a little bit more of a challenge, I don't think the Bucks have much of a following behind them to support it," said Brehm.
A one-tenth of one percent sales tax in five counties help build Miller Park. A half-percent sales tax in Brown County help renovate Lambeau Field. Will fans go for a Bucks arena tax?
"I think so because who's going to put up the $500 million or whatever it will cost," noted Brewers fan Joe Cupertino.
This new agreement with the business community gives the Bucks and civic leaders about six years to work out the difficult details on a new facility and have it ready by 2018.