Depending on who you ask, building a new, publicly financed basketball stadium for the Milwaukee Bucks is either a horrendous example of corporate welfare and official corruption, or a chance to reinvigorate an economically depressed city.
With the fate of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s plan up in the air — hit by criticism from progressives and conservatives alike — the county held its first public meeting Tuesday night to discuss the proposal to use tens of millions of taxpayer dollars to keep the team in the city.
The large crowd took issue with many aspects of the deal, which would sell public land valued at nearly $9 million for $1 dollar to the team’s billionaire owners.
Earlier this month, Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele, a key architect of the deal, promised the plan to build a brand new stadium close to the 27-year-old existing venue would “create jobs, generate millions of dollars in economic activity and property value, and provide a great return on investment for taxpayers.”
Local Milwaukee blogs have raised questions about whether it would also be a great return on investment for Abele personally, given that he recently purchased a $2 million condo directly next to the site of the proposed arena and the restaurants and stores slated to surround it.