The Milwaukee Bucks arena plan is creeping its way through the city council, and while so far all signs are that the city’s $47 million in subsidies will be approved — it’s passed two committees so far, and goes to the full council on Tuesday — there have been a couple of speed bumps:
- Alderman Bob Bauman successfully introduced an amendment that would allow the pedestrian plaza in front of the arena to be open to traffic on non-event days. This is a problem, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes, because “the arena is being designed with a focus on heavy pedestrian traffic on that block, including using the plaza at nonevent times for ticket sales and other activities, a Bucks source said.”
- The arena now won’t open until 2018 instead of 2017 as originally planned.
The delayed opening isn’t a huge deal — it’s not like Bucks fans will be hugely put out by having to go to games at the Bradley Center for another year. As for the pedestrian plaza, this is shaping up to be one of those battles over privatizing use of a public street, a la the Boston Red Sox‘ use of Yawkey Way, that are increasingly cropping up as team owners realize they don’t need to restrain their ambitions at their stadium walls. A reasonable solution would be for the Bucks to pay rent on the street if they really want dibs on it — the Sox are paying less than $1 million a year, which is chump change as these things go — but we may be way past the point of negotiating reasonable solutions, and even Bauman said he’s not sure his amendment will survive a full council vote. We’ll find out more on Tuesday.