Evers, Johnson back new Brewers stadium bill unveiled by Republicans Thursday

State Assembly plans vote next week

Fans wave their rally towels during Game 1 of the MLB Wild Card Series at American Family Field.

Last updated on October 17th, 2023 at 10:48 am

A new plan to fund future improvements to American Family Field, the home of the Milwaukee Brewers, unveiled Thursday reduces the amount of money that would be provided by the city of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County and calls for a study on developing the parking lots around the stadium, according to a report from the Associated Press. Both Gov. Tony Evers and Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson said they support the plan unveiled by Assembly Republicans.

The Assembly’s State Affairs Committee on Thursday approved the updated plan. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, said the full Assembly will vote on the bill on Tuesday, according to the AP which reported that Vos called the new plan a “win-win-win” for the Brewers, local leaders and the state.

The Brewers have said they want a commitment from taxpayers, which own American Family Field, to fund future repairs and improvements to the stadium in order for the team to agree to extend its lease, which expires in 2030.

Earlier this year, Gov. Tony Evers proposed using $290 million of the state’s budget surplus to fund future upgrades to the stadium, under a deal in which the Brewers would extend their lease to 2043.

But Republicans rejected that plan and in September presented their own proposal to fund future improvements to the stadium, which called for approximately $400 million from the state, $200 million from the city and county and $100 million from the Brewers, who would agree to extend their lease to 2050.

Local officials said the city and county contributions under that plan were too high and Johnson said the Brewers should consider developing some of the parking lots around the stadium to help generate more local tax revenue.

Under the new plan unveiled Thursday by state Rep. Robert Brooks, R-Saukville, the plan’s chief architect, the city and county’s contribution to future stadium improvements is lowered from $200 million to $135 million, or $67.5 million each, according to the Associated Press.

The new plan also calls for a study on developing the stadium’s parking lots.

The contributions from the state and Brewers remain the same as in the plan presented by Republicans in September.

Evers supports the revised plan, his spokesperson said in an email to The Associated Press.

Johnson and Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley issued statements to the media indicating they also support the new plan.

“A great deal of hard work and thoughtful discussions have taken place to reach this juncture,” Johnson said in his statement. “From the outset, I have stated two priorities: I want the Brewers to be our home team for the indefinite future, and I want local taxpayers to be protected from excessive costs. The proposal shared today achieves those objectives, and it has my full support.”

“The Milwaukee Brewers are an important asset for our community. That’s why I’m pleased to see the progress that has been reached thus far to keep the organization in Wisconsin,” Crowley said in his statement. “While we’ve secured a positive agreement in the Wisconsin State Assembly, I now look ahead to engaging with members of the state Senate on a path forward. My main priority has not changed: To deliver a bipartisan solution that allows Milwaukee and the state to retain the Brewers, while providing Milwaukee County with additional resources to support our residents and communities in the years ahead. I am looking forward to continued negotiations over the coming weeks.”

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Andrew is the editor of BizTimes Milwaukee. He joined BizTimes in 2003, serving as managing editor and real estate reporter for 11 years. A University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate, he is a lifelong resident of the state. He lives in Muskego with his wife, Seng, their son, Zach, and their dog, Hokey. He is an avid sports fan and is a member of the Muskego Athletic Association board of directors.

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