It’s official: The owners of the Milwaukee Bucks want to decide where to build an arena first, then figure out how to pay for it later:
“They have a very tight timetable,” [Alderman Bob] Bauman said. “They want to have a site identified in three or four months. Then they want to do the engineering and design. Then they will focus on the financials.”
This sort of makes a kind of sense, in that the final cost of any arena is going to depend on where it’s built, how much infrastructure is needed, etc. Though given that cost estimates are already in the $400-500 million range, and the team’s owners have only pledged $200 million toward construction, there’s going to be a huge funding gap to address regardless, so it’s a bit silly to put that off until last.
Except, of course, that picking a site first has a strategic benefit to the team’s owners as well, which is that it makes the arena’s construction and location seem a done deal, with the only thing left to decide being how to pay for it. Even if, say, nearly two-thirds of the local populace wants nothing to do with funding one.
You’d think “What level of public funding would actually be worth it to taxpayers?” or even “How much public money would local residents be willing to contribute?” would be more interesting articles than “How fast do the Bucks’ owners want to get this done, and how high should we jump?” But that’s just not Don Walker’s style.