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Wisconsin Center District won't pay for new Milwaukee arena

The Bradley Center in Milwaukee, home of the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Bradley Center in Milwaukee, home of the Milwaukee Bucks.

MILWAUKEE (WTAQ) - We don’t know yet who will pay for a proposed new indoor sports and concert arena in Milwaukee.

But we do know who won’t be paying for it – the group that manages the Delta Center convention hall, the U.S. Cellular Arena, and the Milwaukee Theatre.

Franklyn Gimbel, who chairs the Wisconsin Center District, said Wednesday that his group does not, “have a lot of extra cash either for collaboration for an athletic facility, or building one on our own.”

He said it’s been a disappointing year financially for the center’s facilities. The district collects taxes on hotel rooms, car rentals, and food and beverage sales.

It expects $27 million this year from those taxes – and it expects to pay $18 million in debt service for its facilities.

There’s no deadline for deciding on a new arena to replace the Bradley Center. The National Basketball Association would like a decision sometime.

Milwaukee Bucks’ owner Herb Kohl has promised to cover part of the costs. There’s also been talk that the Miller Park sales tax could be extended, after it pays off the bonds for that stadium.

State approval would be needed for that, and GOP Assembly Speaker Robin Vos says he wants nothing to do with it.

Vos represents Racine County, where voters recalled former Senator George Petak for his last-minute support in the 1990’s of the sales tax which built the Brewers’ baseball stadium.