MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The panel was arranged by the cultural and entertainment needs task force. Representatives from Denver, Cleveland, and Oklahoma City talked about how their cities built new arenas with a common theme: The need to have a vibrant downtown.
When it comes to the construction of a new arena, the question remains: Who will pay for it and how? The estimated cost is between $400 and $500 million dollars. So far, the Bucks new owners have pledged $100 million dollars, an offer matched by former owner, Herb Kohl.
"It is going to take a public-private partnership, you heard all the three cities embrace the fact that we ought to run with the private sector investment we have because that`s a leg up most cities don`t have," says Tim Sheehy, president of Metro. Milwaukee Association of Commerce.
The message form the three visitors on Friday's panel focused on the need for cities to attract talented young professionals.
"We`re creating an environment where the millennial generation says `that downtown has the experience I wanna have and arts and crafts and culture and sports facilities are a huge part of that experience for them'," says Kelly Brough, Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce.
Among those in the crowd, members of Common Ground. That group has maintained that if public money is used for a new arena, some of those tax dollars should also go toward athletic facilities at public schools.
"I think right now, the package is looking to be more of an entertainment center downtown. I`m not sure they`ll do with the cultural assets; I don`t see them looking at school fields," says Kate Nicholson, Common Ground.
The visitors recommend investing in downtown, saying they believe that's the key to drawing young talent.
"These millennials are going somewhere and they`re not necessarily coming here unless you create a place they wanna be at," says one speaker.
The source of public funding is still unclear. Officials in Waukesha, Ozaukee, and Racine Counties have loudly opposed being part of a new arena tax.
However, city and county officials in Milwaukee say it should be a regional project. The task force expects to discuss some specific funding proposals at its next meeting in September.