MILWAUKEE -- After months of back and forth as it relates to a financing deal to make a new Milwaukee Bucks arena a reality, the question remains: Is there enough support around the state to make this happen? And if so, when could a funding plan be approved?
It already feels like the construction of the new arena in downtown Milwaukee is a certainty. We've seen the artist renderings -- and we even know where the $500 million arena and $500 million sports and entertainment complex. But it's still a toss-up as to whether state and local lawmakers will get behind the latest plan to finance the project.
"If you're the reason, as a legislator who votes against this, that three years from now we're looking at an empty Park East (Corridor) and an empty (BMO Harris) Bradley Center and a big hole in the state budget, I want to know who to hold accountable and who is going to come up with a way, revenue to fill that hole. People should be asking that question," said Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele.
Over the last few months, we've seen multiple proposals on funding for the arena. Abele remains hopeful the latest plan will get the needed support to get shovels in the ground.
"I'll do everything I can because I believe in this," said Abele.
Abele is also open to modifying the most recent funding proposal to make the arena happen. That includes considering the possibility of a ticket surcharge.
"All of us, understandably, have slightly different priorities. To me, you know, if that is what made the deal work, great. But you know, conversely, if there was another way to make it work, great," said Abele.
As for how to sell the other parts of the state on a deal that includes public financing, Abele says keeping the Bucks in Milwaukee, and in Wisconsin for that matter, allows the state to collect more revenue -- which helps other communities do better as well.