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Baseball entertainment district proposal for AmFam Field moves to committee, Brewers respond

Posted at 5:52 PM, Jun 07, 2022

MILWAUKEE — At least one Milwaukee County leader has a proposal to get people talking about a potential baseball entertainment district by American Family Field.

Peter Burgelis suggested transforming some of the parking lots and land owned by Komatsu into a destination that resembles Milwaukee's Deer District or Green Bay's Titletown. He also recommended dismantling State Highway 175 south of I-94 in conjunction with the development.

"There’s an opportunity to do more to have a bigger impact on our community, not just for the Brewers, but for Milwaukee as a whole," Burgelis said.

The county supervisor believes the timing to get a discussion going is now, considering there is a study of what to do with State Highway 175, plus the I-94 project East-West project is underway.

Burgelis thinks an entertainment district would revitalize the local neighborhood and property tax revenue would help with upgrades at the ballpark.

"We have a lot of room for tailgating at Amfam Field, but the highest and best use of real estate in the middle of Milwaukee County isn’t a parking lot. We’ve seen great success down with the Bucks with their entertainment district after tearing down the Park East Freeway prompted $1 billion worth of private investment downtown," Burgelis said.

Robin Palm is an urban planner for Mount Pleasant and a Brewers fan. He also lives near the stadium.

Palm recently wrote a column for "The Recombobulation Area" making the case for what he called the "Beer District" and said the response was overwhelmingly positive.

"The only sort of detractors have been people who like highways and people who like tailgating and to which I say the traffic will probably be better because you won't have two highways intersecting anymore and I also think that tailgating will never go away," Palm said.

Logistics and financing need to be worked out between multiple entities, considering the land is publicly owned. Plus, the Brewers and the Southeast Wisconsin Professional Baseball Park District need to be on board.

"Nothing will happen without their blessing, but we need to start the conversation somewhere and with the redevelopment of the stadium interchange," Burgelis said.

During a meeting with the Southeast Wisconsin Professional Baseball Park District's Board of Directors, Brewers President of Business Operations Rick Schlesinger noted that the parking lots are important to fans who enjoy tailgating. Schlesinger also left the door open to ideas regarding real estate being part of a funding solution.

The district's executive director Pat Goss did not want to comment since they found out about the resolution on Monday.

Burgelis' resolution was moved to a committee.

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