MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Supporters of a new Milwaukee Bucks arena say it's a "once-in-a-generation" opportunity. On Tuesday evening, April 28th, they touted the benefits of a new sports and entertainment district that would surround the arena and help to transform downtown Milwaukee.
Rob Boese is a bartender at Carson's, and he lives in the same building -- a few stories up from the bar. The view from his window right now isn't much to look at.
"Window looks right out onto the empty lots. It would be nice just to see something there," Boese said.
If proponents of a new Bucks arena get their way, empty lots in the Park East Corridor will become part of a new sports and entertainment district.
"Just kind of adds to the skyline -- adds to, you know, what there is to do around here," Boese said.
While Bucks officials work to secure funding for the new arena, there are already plans to redevelop lots surrounding the new site.
"This about total transformation. This is about creating an area that right now isn`t as vibrant or lively as it possibly could -- to really becoming a magnet for activity," Bucks President Peter Feigin said.
Supporters said during a panel discussion inside the BMO Harris Bradley Center they envision a new downtown Milwaukee that caters to those on foot -- where people can work and then go out at night.
"It`s a billion dollar investment. 10,000 plus jobs are gonna be created and it`s really a generational transformational opportunity for our community," Cory Nettles with the Bucks Ownership Group said.
The arena itself will cost $500 million. The sports and entertainment district will cost another $500 million. The sports and entertainment district would be paid for mostly by private enterprises — but the arena requires public funding.
The team's owners, along with former owner Herb Kohl have pledged to cover half the cost of a new arena. They're looking to the public for the other half. Financing for the arena has become a divisive subject in the state.
"We have to help the community understand why this is a good investment," Nettles said.
City, county and state leaders continue to meet to work out a funding plan for the arena.
Recently, two polls came out on this issue with very different results. The Milwaukee Metropolitan Association of Commerce found the majority of voters support the state borrowing $150 million for the new arena. A Marquette University poll found the majority of voters oppose that.