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Racine Mayor Pushes for Arena Funding

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Racine mayor John Dickert continues to push for the Racine Event Center, and is trying to convince Racine County officials to fund the plan sooner rather than later.

Dickert has been a vocal proponent of the Racine Event Center, a proposed downtown arena and adjacent hotel. The project has a projected price tag of $46 million and would house a Milwaukee Bucks D-League team. Citing the project’s economic development potential, the mayor is proposing that the city and the county team up for a two-thirds, one-thirds city-count split of $40 million and have the private sector cover the remaining cost.

Thus far, Racine County commissioners have been moving at a different pace than Dickert. County executive Jonathan Delgrave has said that the county wants to be diligent in the process, but Dickert fears the timing of the Bucks’ decision is against the county’s agenda. Multiple media outlets have reported that the Bucks will pick either Racine, Sheboygan, or Oshkosh within the next few weeks.

With the new arena and potential for spin-off development, Racine is trying to mount a competitive case. However, Dickert and Delgrave are offering differing views on the timing of the project. More from The Journal Times:

“Time is not our friend,” Dickert said. “I know a lot of people have said we should push this off for a year or two, but if we do that, I guarantee you the project is dead.”

But for Delagrave, the $15 million commitment should only come after the county does its due diligence.

“This project is not going to be successful if it’s predicated just on the Bucks,” he said. “If this idea is such a great idea, then it’s going to prove itself over time and that’s what the county is looking at.”

In addition to the D-league franchise, the proposed Racine Event Center has been tied to the USHL. Minnesota Wild owner Craig Leipold has previously expressed interest in owning the prospective franchise.

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