If he could, he would: Herb Kohl admits he can't pick up the whole tab for a new arena
Pockets are only so deep. Even Herb Kohl's.
The former Senator and present owner of the Milwaukee Bucks admits to NBA.com writer David Aldridge that he'd pay for a new arena for his team--if he could. Kohl's comments and a link to Aldridge's piece were first brought to my attention by the Business Journal's Rich Kirchen.
Kohl already promised to contribute what he deemed "not an insignificant amount" toward the arena effort but tells Aldridge it should be a community effort not unlike the one that kept the Kings in Sacramento. That community was able to cobble together a public/private plan for a new building that averted a threatened move to Seattle.
Kohl is seeking new partners to buy into the Bucks, thus spurring a new winter past time in Milwaukee among those who care about the NBA's future here: who'll want in? Some of the names are very familiar. All are very quiet so far.
A committee of 48 civic and business leaders held it's first meeting recently to see if the arena effort can be linked to a plan that would also come up with funding to sustain/improve other local attractions and needs, emulating what another NBA town did. The Oklahoma City plan is one that's been talked about but again, we're still waiting to see what gets traction.
A year ends, and 2014 dawns. The team's Bradley Center lease is up in 2017 and the NBA has already said the a new building is a must in order for the team to stay here. Milwaukee is better known for glacial progress than bold, swift moves. The clock is running and decisions will have to be made sooner rather than late. Anyone waiting for the current owner to throw the party by himself is on notice.
That ain't gonna happen.