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Land valued at $8 million could go for $1: public speaks out

The land has sat empty for close to two decades and now there is a plan to develop it, but not everyone agrees.

Park East is slated to become the land where the new Bucks arena and entertainment district would be built.

But the problem for many is the price Milwaukee county is offering up the land for.

Opinions were strong Tuesday night on both sides during a public hearing put on by the county board of supervisors.  One hot button issue? County Executive Chris Abele's decision to sell the  four block plot of land for one dollar. 

\"I come down here many times throughout the season to spend money in your city. Without the Milwaukee Bucks I wouldn't do that,\" said Ralph Lund, who owns a business in Peshtigo, Wisconsin.

 Lund drove more than two hours to show his support for Abele's plan, which would sell the county owned land, valued at $8 million to the \"Head of the Herd group,\" for just one dollar. But not everyone was with him. 

The group is buying the land as is and would develop it in  four phases, to include not only a new Bucks arena but also residential and commercial space. Proponents say the land has gone unsold for more than 10 years and is worth far less; estimating remediation costs of $4 million.

\"The costs associated with resolving those issues necessarily must be credited against the land price,\" said one local developer.

But those against say they don't want that land given away for almost free. 

\"We have so many other needs in this town. There are other ways this could be developed and if private entities want to come in and develop it that's fine but they should pay the same I'd have to, which would be market rate,\" said another man. 

One woman says Abele is too personally vested and his plan to collect $80 million in unpaid debt to fund the arena won't work 

\"Chris Abele has purchased a $2 million condo atop The Moderne and his condo over looks the area were discussing  today,\" she said. 

Regardless, those for the arena plan are staying positive.

\"I would have a hard time buying it's immoral to hold people accountable for the debt they owe.\"

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