Racine, WI officials voted on Tuesday to authorize spending for phase one of the city’s arena proposal, bringing an owner’s representative into the fold.
By a 10-5 margin, the Racine City Council approved the use of $600,000 from an intergovernmental fund to reach an agreement with the Hammes Company, which will serve as an owner’s representative. This means that the city will continue to discuss the possibility of constructing a new arena, which would be a component in a downtown development project that, as proposed, would also lead to the construction of a hotel.
Funding for the agreement with Hammes Company received preliminary approval from the Redevelopment Authority and Committe of the Whole last week, and was affirmed by the council on Tuesday. While sentiments against the proposed arena were voiced during a public comment period, some officials, including mayor John Dickert, supported the decision. More from The Journal Times:
For his part, Dickert wasn’t concerned about Tuesday’s objections, citing the mostly positive input from last week’s meeting and what he’s heard from constituents.
“It’s the exact opposite of what I’m hearing in the public,” Dickert said.
And even though the council opposition to the plan increased Tuesday, the majority of aldermen remained supportive.
“We tend to hear from those opposed as the loudest voices,” Ninth District Alderman Terry McCarthy said. “We have the right to say no ourselves after the study.”
The expenditure does not commit Racine to following through on the proposal, but signifies that the city will move forward with some planning. Racine originally proposed an arena last year for a NBA Development League franchise owned by the Milwaukee Bucks, but the Bucks opted to proceed with plans to place the team in Oshkosh, WI. The USHL could place a team in Racine if the arena is constructed, as Minnesota Wild owner Craig Leipold has previously expressed his interest in the project.
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