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War Memorial Center, Milw. Art Museum create new partnership

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The Milwaukee County War Memorial Center and the Milwaukee Art Museum are now partners. The papers were signed Tuesday morning, September 17th.

The deal was two years in the making, but Milwaukee County Board Chairwoman Marina Dimitrijevic said it was worth it.

“This is the day we all had to envision to get through these last 2 years and it’s really exciting,” said Dimitrijevic.

The Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors played a big role in the agreement. Back in July they voted unanimously to give the two landmarks $1.6 million dollars a year over ten years. That money will now go towards renovations, maintenance, and repairs.

“This agreement allows us to move forward with the major improvements and repairs which is significant. This building has been in need of repairs for many, many years,” said Daniel Keegan, with the Milwaukee Art Museum.

But it`s not just about fixing what`s broken-it`s also about moving forward, which is something many veterans are happy about.

“As a veteran it makes me feel good to see the community come together to support this facility. This facility sat for about 12 years in need of repairs and we finally came together, they are going to get the needed repairs, not only the needed repairs, we’re going to move forward with the whole revamp,” said Mike Kandziora, a Vietnam Veteran, “it's really going to benefit the veterans and make people come down here and really look at what this facility is.”

Dimitrijevic said she has already been approached by private donors expressing an interest in donating now that the agreement has been made.  She anticipates this agreement will bring in nearly 15 million dollars in private funding.

The agreement has received some opposition. Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele has said the financial obligation was too great to take on, and that the money could be used better elsewhere. But in the end, he did not veto it. Abele was out of town Tuesday, and not at the signing.

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