SBD/Issue 132/Facilities & Venues

Bradley Center Seeking $5M From State For Arena Upgrades

Request Reflects Bradley Center's Increasing
Difficulty With Generating Enough Money
Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle has "included a provision in the state's capital budget seeking $5[M] in state bonding support to upgrade the Bradley Center," according to Don Walker of the MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL. The move marks the first time the Bradley Center, which was built "without tax dollars and has operated without any public funding," has "taken the step to make such a request and is a reflection of the arena's increasing difficulty with generating enough money on its own to maintain the building." The request "calls for $500,000 a year in state bonding authority for 10 years," for a total of $5M. Bradley Center officials told state officials that the arena has "maintenance needs totaling $23[M]," but while the $5M "would be state supported, the Bradley Center has agreed to raise the remaining" $18M. Bradley Center officials indicated that the arena's list of upgrades and maintenance needs includes: "outdated mechanical and heating, ventilation and air-conditioning equipment; an outdated scoreboard; a deteriorating roof and exterior facade; an obsolete hockey rink system; outdated event production technology; aging and inefficient lighting; and a significant number of seats that need to be replaced or refurbished." Bradley Center Chair Ulice Payne Jr. in a statement noted that there "seemed to be little consensus on the idea of replacing" the arena with a new facility (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 3/27). The JOURNAL SENTINEL's Walker wrote it "now seems clear" that the Bradley Center is "not in very good shape." The list of what needs to be fixed at the arena is "long and startling" (, 3/26).

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