Gov. Scott Walker was in Milwaukee Tuesday to tour the Bucks arena construction site.
Walker said he was pleasantly surprised to see how quickly the arena is taking shape. Thanks to a mild winter, crews have completed around 45 percent of the exterior structure.
Walker said he sees this project as a great way to revitalize downtown as well as good state investment.
“We’re proud of the fact we did it in a way that ultimately will provide $3 of return over the next twenty years for every dollar the state put in,” Walker said.
Less than two years ago, Walker signed legislation to spend $250 million in taxpayer dollars on the arena, with $80 million in reduced state funds to Milwaukee County. It’s a plan that once faced fierce opposition.
“You never want to spend money that could be used to help people, but I don’t control those dollars,” said Bucks fan Aaron Robinson.
Walker believes public perception is changing as the structure hits the skyline.
“With the new stadium being built, it’s time to rally around the Bucks now,” said Bucks fan Carl Brida.
Bucks President Peter Feigin said the project is on schedule and within their budget. Recently, crews laid cement for about half of the concourse where seating will be installed.
“At the end of this month we’ll start the steel construction of the roof which is the spans,” Feigin said.
That means 500 workers will be joined by an additional 800 over the next few months. The arena is expected to be fully enclosed by Thanksgiving.
Feigin said they’re talking with several prospects for naming rights.
“I would say all of them have a Wisconsin presence and all of them have a national and international business as well,” he said.
The new Bucks arena is expected to be finished by July of 2018. So far, Feigin said there have been no significant injuries on the job site.
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