RACINE COUNTY -- There is no celebrating in Racine after the Milwaukee Bucks announced they're starting a D-League franchise in Oshkosh. The announcement was made by Bucks officials Wednesday, February 8th.
Dan DuMont, owner of Dewey's Restaurant and Sports Bar, said he and several other business owners in downtown Racine were hoping the Bucks D-League team would give a big boost to Racine's renaissance.
"I think all the merchants downtown were very excited to see something like that happen," DuMont said.
When word came down that the Bucks were taking their new franchise elsewhere, the excitement may have dipped -- but DuMont said he's not discouraged.
"Of course we're disappointed here in Racine, but, again, the land's still available, so hopefully some other developers or someone else has some ideas for that property," DuMont said.
Meanwhile, Mary Kaprelian has co-owned downtown Racine's Main Street General Store for the past 40 years.
"If your lakefront downtown fails, your entire community will follow," Kaprelian said.
Kaprelian said she thinks the next push for this property should involve the people.
"Now is the time to look at research, development, demographics. Who's staying here? Who's moving in? Are we losing population? You know? And it's a bigger question than getting something with a big name is attached to it," Kaprelian said.
In a statement released Wednesday afternoon, Racine Mayor John Dickert said the following:
“While it is disappointing to not get the Milwaukee Bucks organization as a tenant, this by no means makes the project any less critical. For as long as I have been mayor, Racine business leaders have been asking for another hotel downtown. The best way to attract good hoteliers is to provide an on-going source of visitors – and that is the function of the proposed Event Center. We have a commitment for a hockey team and look to add another tenant. Perhaps an indoor football or soccer team would fit the bill. All the economic benefits we anticipate will continue to be possible with the addition of the Event Center and Hotel.”