The art museum had been eyeing O'Donnell Park since the summer of 2015. After going back and forth about the closing date with Milwaukee County, the deal was finalized on Monday. With the finalization, the museum will move forward, taking ownership of the structure and its exhibition space. The museum's immediate plans are to clean and make repairs to the structure.
Museum employees are eager to become involved in the community.
"With this strategic acquisition, we also open up possibilities for the future, envisioning how we can facilitate more activities, programs and opportunities for inspiring community engagement," said Marcelle Polednik, Milwaukee Art Museum Director.
The museum has long-term goals of revamping the structure, including adding a sculpture garden atop the parking structure.
The lease for the O'Donnell Park property will last until 2028, like the Art Museum's existing lease for the Betty Brinn children's Museum. The art museum will also take over space from the Miller Pavilion and the Milwaukee County War Memorial Center buildings.
The city will still own the land, but the museum will be responsible for the buildings and cover capital maintenance for the repair. Over an 84-year period, the repair work is predicted to cost $28.8 million.
County Board Chairman Theodore Lipscomb says the plan is a “good deal for taxpayers and promotes the use and enjoyment of Milwaukee County’s lakefront property for the benefit of the public.”
For more on this story, visit the Milwaukee Business Journal's website.