By Michele Fiore
MILWAUKEE (WDJT) — A plan is in the works to possibly bring an entertainment district to the Brewers’ home base.
A number of sports franchises around the country have done it, so the county board supervisor whose district includes the area around AmFam Field says why not?
Milwaukee County Board Supervisor Peter Burgelis’ entertainment district proposal’s being moved to committee, but could be met with some pushback.
“I want to at least start the conversation. We can call this the first pitch if you will,” said Burgelis.
Tailgating is a big part of Brewers culture. It’s something some fans worry might get lost if the landscape outside the ballpark were to change.
“And tailgating is a part of Brewers culture that I don’t think ever will go away, but the reality is that asphalt doesn’t pay taxes. It doesn’t improve our community. It doesn’t improve our neighborhoods,” Burgelis said.
Later this summer, we’re expecting to hear how the Brewers want to improve their stadium that was built over 20 years ago, a likely multi-million dollar project. Burgelis says an entertainment district could offset the cost.
“And I think as we’ve seen with the Deer District in downtown Milwaukee, that can be a way for sports franchises raise new revenue,” said Dan Shafer, independent journalist with The Recombobulation Area.
Shafer says not having an entertainment district is a weak point for the Brewers when you look at franchises around the country.
“Having development around the stadium would help support the stadium,” said Burgelis.
Supporters see this as a good time to move forward with the redevelopment of I-94 East-West, changes for I-75 around the stadium and Komatsu Mining leaving the area.
“But they’re leaving that space empty and there’s not currently plans for what to do next with that. And there’s not a lot of urban manufacturing that would come to a site like that,” said Shafer.
For now, excitement is building from Brewers fans who want what the Bucks have.
“I coined Beer District, I think, it’s so obvious. I can’t claim I was the first one to really think of it,” said Robin Palm, urban planner with Mt. Pleasant.
Palm says parking decks could replace parking spots taken by an entertainment district so capacity stays the same.
For those worried that bars and restaurants might take revenue away from the brewers, he says, “Right now they’re competing with people bringing six-packs in the parking lot. So that is what their competition is.”
This is all in the very early stages. We reached out to the Brewers. They have no comment just yet.
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