Kohl: No Need To Talk Today about Public Funding for New Bucks Arena
By By Jay Sorgi
Bucks owner and U.S. Senator Herb Kohl has publicly talked about the need to look at constructing a new arena, potentially with public funding, for the team and its long-term stability in Milwaukee.
Just not in the short-term, under the current economy.
"The Bucks have never asked for any public funds," said Kohl at the team's annual preseason luncheon.
"I think we deserve some consideration, in a timely manner, in the right way."
Senator Kohl states, though, the right way is not to ask now for taxpayers to assist in building under current economic times.
"No one is saying we need to start talking about it today," states the Senator.
"I'm not saying that. This is a tough economy, and people are hurting, so nobody is talking about public funds, or even private funds because companies are hurting."
At 20 years old, the Bradley Center is the third-oldest arena in the NBA.
The Bucks currently go on a year-by-year lease agreement with the building, and other teams with longer leases and newer arenas are able to draw more revenue from greater club seating, restaurants and entertainment elements the Bradley Center doesn't have.
"It's my job as the owner of the team, who's looking out for the future of the team, just to remind that the issue is there, and at some point, when it's proper, we need to take a look at it and see what we can do to be sure that the team stays here."
Private funds from the late Jane Bradley Pettit built the current arena, which also houses Marquette men's basketball and the Milwaukee Admirals.
Current Economy Not Supporting Arena Projects
The nature of the economy, and of lending and borrowing in a culture of government loan bailouts, make things especially hard for large projects such as sports arenas to get off the ground.
"We've got several real estate projects that are involved with entertainment and stadium venues," states attorney Marty Greenberg, the founder of the Marquette University Sports Law Institute, in an interview earlier this month.
"Basically, they're on hold, because they can't get financing."
"That certainly would effect discussions relative to the next Bradley Center, because of, now, impossibilities as far as stadium construction financing."