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Economic Benefits Touted in Racine

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In mulling a proposed arena/hotel project, officials need to consider the potential for job creation, according to Racine mayor John Dickert.

This week has been marked by rapid developments for Racine’s proposal, which calls for a 3,800-seat arena and adjacent hotel in the city’s downtown. It was already known that the project was intended to lure a Milwaukee Bucks D-League team, but there is the potential for another tenant. Minnesota Wild owner Craig Leipold has already pledged his support, and says he would be interested in helping to bring a USHL club to the city if the project moves forward.

For Dickert, the concept represents an opportunity, not only in attracting visitors to the city’s downtown, but in creating jobs. Construction alone will offer some opportunities for employment, and Dickert is putting that at the forefront of his argument. More from the Racine Journal Times:

“This is a community opportunity,” Dickert said. “This is not a city or county thing or anything else. This is all of us partnering together on an opportunity to create jobs.”

 Those jobs are a vital benefit of the arena proposal, which was presented publicly for the first time to the County Board Tuesday. The $40 million events center would add more than 300 jobs as well as 450 construction jobs during the building process, according to Dickert.

“We’re still No. 1 in unemployment (in Wisconsin),” he said. “The 300-plus jobs and the 450-plus construction jobs make a big dent in our unemployment numbers, which is great for our community.”

The arena and accompanying hotel would also allow Downtown Racine to hold events that it’s never been able to before. Dickert brought up everything from tractor conventions to big meetings for SC Johnson in terms of events the arena would bring to the city.

“It allows us to bring a great entertainment option for our residents at a reasonable price,” he said. “It opens up a whole new market to concerts and conventions. All of those things are now available for us if we get this done.”

When it comes to this project, Racine County officials have been the most prominent voices within government circles, so Dickert’s revelation is significant is stating the city’s case. Officials are is still considering how to found the project–the arena itself is expected to cost $40 million–so Dickert’s is not only clear, but also timely.

RELATED STORIES: Leipold: I’ll Help Bring USHL to RacineCould USHL Join Bucks in Racine?New Racine Arena Pitched for Bucks D-League TeamRacine County Considering Arena Options; La Crosse Out as Option for Bucks D-League TeamFive Wisconsin Cities Vie for Bucks D-League Team

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