Even though the Milwaukee Bucks are no longer in the mix, Racine will continue discussions about building a new arena.
With a proposal that called for a downtown arena and adjacent hotel, Racine was one of the finalists to land the Bucks’ franchise in the NBA Development League. That pursuit has come to an end, as the Bucks announced on Wednesday that they will place their D-League franchise at a forthcoming arena in Oshkosh.
Leading up to the Bucks’ decision, Racine mayor John Dickert was a very vocal proponent of the arena/hotel project, citing its potential economic development benefits. Though the D-League is no longer an option, Dickert says that the city still has a chance to land a minor league hockey franchise in the USHL. Furthermore, he is confident that the business community will rally behind the project. More from The Journal Times:
“For as long as I have been mayor, Racine business leaders have been asking for another hotel Downtown. The best way to attract good hoteliers is to provide an ongoing source of visitors — and that is the function of the proposed event center.
“We have a commitment for a hockey team and look to add another tenant. Perhaps an indoor football or soccer team would fit the bill,” Dickert’s statement continued. “All the economic benefits we anticipate will continue to be possible with the addition of the event center and hotel.”
A conceptual plan calls for a $46 million Racine event center at the corner of Gaslight Drive and Lake Avenue. Minnesota Wild owner and Racine native Craig Leipold has pledged to help bring a United States Hockey League team to the facility should the project come to fruition.
Racine, Sheboygan, and Oshkosh were the three finalists for the Bucks D-League franchise.