And the clock is running...
...which isn't always a good thing when Milwaukee has big things to decide.
We'll talk and study a sticky issue to absolute room-temperature DEATH unless someone slaps a time limit on us, so maybe it's better this way.
Milwaukee has five years (maybe six?) to come up with a new home for the NBA Bucks who say their existing 25 year old home is outdated. Area businesses came together to create what's being called "a bridge" to a new arena, that being some $18 million dollars that will go toward keeping the freshly re-christened BMO Harris Bradley Center in decent shape until the wraps come off a new building.
That five or six years isn't the time that we have to decide IF we want to build the arena. That's five or six years until ticket-buying customers are sashaying through spiffy new turnstiles.
Some uncomfortable questions need answering first:
--does Milwaukee love/need the Bucks to undertake the construction of a new arena?
--how long does Senator Herb Kohl keep the team, and who does he sell to when he wants to leave?
The second pair may be easier to answer, since Kohl has always vowed to sell only to people who'll keep the team here. A bigger question for the Senator is this: what's your definition of "not insignificant" as used when you talk about how much of your own money you'll commit to a new building, his promise being the impetus behind this week's MMAC-inspired deal.
Milwaukee's love of NBA hoop in general and the Bucks in particular gets called into question as the team's attendance dwindled amid a losing 2012 campaign. A late season trade meant to launch the Bucks into the postseason failed to turn the trick. Lots of ticket-buyers became no-shows. You saw the attendance number in the nightly box score but you know it didn't match with what you saw in the seats. Until those two things jibe, the question has to be asked.
Success on the floor would help. There's a core of Bucks fans who show up no matter what, not unlike the die-hards who came to County Stadium in the mid 90's as the Brewers struggled. Why do we need a new stadium when the baseball team can't even fill the existing one, the naysayers asked as the Miller Park debate lingered.
It's easy selling a winning product--oh, wait. Remember what the Packers went through trying to get Lambeau redone AFTER they'd won a Super Bowl and lost a second? Bob Harlan had to beat his knuckles bloody on Fox Valley doors to win the right to renovate the Frozen Tundra.
Local business bought Milwaukee time, but their contribution to the BMO-Harris-BC also started the stopwatch. Five years, (maybe six), to answer some really delicate questions. Then the community gets to tackle a bunch of others including who pays what and where does a new facility go--never a slam-dunk in Milwaukee where a similar debate in the 80's angered Lloyd and Jane Pettit to the point where they almost yanked the back-then-we-just-called-it-the-Bradley-Center off the table.
This week's investment does two things: it buys the BMO Harris BC time. It also starts the debate, something that it seemed no one--certainly no elected leader--wanted to tackle.