Study shows BMO Harris Bradley Center updates could be costly for Milwaukee taxpayers


by Chris Patterson

MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee politicians are questioning if a new arena might do more harm than good to the City of Milwaukee. A non-partisan analysis of the impact on a newly built Bradley Center on Milwaukee taxpayers shows they may be left with a debt they can't afford.

Milwaukee Alderman Michael Murphy isn't ready to say whether he's for or against a new arena, but wants to have an honest discussion on whether a new arena is necessary or economical. Alderman Murphy says, "Two-thirds of the people who have season tickets to the Bucks are not City of Milwaukee residents. So if the burden falls all on the City of Milwaukee, residents when 30% are in poverty is that really fair?"

Steve Baas from the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (MMAC) wants to focus the attention on the open debate rather than premature assessments. Baas says, "Everybody would like somebody else to pay for it. It's premature to speculate, because we don't even have a specific proposal, a specific price tag, a specific purpose."

Baas says the Milwaukee Bucks' lease goes through 2017, and starting the conversation now is crucial. He believes the arena the Bucks have now is dated by NBA standards.

Alderman Murphy thinks the building is pretty solid as is, and fears the NBA wants a new facility with more expensive luxury boxes so they can increase ticket prices.


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