"Ongoing discussions" over proposed new Bucks arena, deal said to be close

MILWAUKEE -- We are getting a clearer picture of who would pay for a new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks -- and potentially how.

Workers collected soil samples Thursday on the proposed site of a new arena -- just north of the BMO Harris Bradley Center. Officials say they're close to funding a plan for that new arena.

"Every day, there's a last little bit of a detail that needs to be tweaked a little bit. But I hope it'll be sometime this week," said Gov. Scott Walker.

For more than a year, the Bucks' current and former owners have pledged to cover half the cost of a $500 million arena. It now appears public money will indeed cover the rest of the tab.

Marquette Sports Law Professor Matthew Parlow says compared to other cities, it's reasonable.

"In a lot of other deals, it's about 70 percent public financing in recent years. So that it's only 50 percent public financing shows it does better than the national average; at least of those that have been done in, say, the last 20 years," said Parlow.

The public money will come from the state, the Wisconsin Center District, the City of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County.

Parlow says the county's contribution is the most unique in that its source is uncollected debt that it would collect with the state's help -- and then put that money toward the arena.

"It is not unreasonable to think that the money will come in on debts that hadn't been repaid in current," said Parlow. "How much and is it an increase from what they tend to bring in every year now? The devil's in the details -- we'll just have to see that."

Beyond the $500 million price tag, officials say they have yet to sort out who would cover cost overruns or fill the gap if revenues fall short of projections.

"Those are ongoing discussions about what would happen. For example, if the revenues the county is transferring to the state, if those don't materialize. Those are ongoing conversations," said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.