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Funding Pitched for Brown County Veterans Memorial Arena Replacement

Arena Digest

Brown County, WI officials are expected to discuss the possible implementation of a temporary sales tax that would help fund a new expo center. If constructed, the expo center would take the place of a demolished Brown County Veterans Memorial Arena.

Discussion continues on whether to replace Brown County Veterans Memorial Arena with a new expo hall. A study on the arena and the adjacent Shopko Hall by AECOM found that tearing down the venue would be a more feasible option than renovating it, and that the location could support a new indoor event space.

One of the major questions that looms in the process is how to fund the project. Under a proposal from Brown County executive Troy Streckenbach, a temporary sales tax would be introduced to cover a portion of the funding.

The framework of the plan calls for a 0.5% temporary sales increase tax to go into effect for six years, and generate an estimated $147 million over that period. That would be supplemented by room tax revenue, with the two joining a naming rights fee for the expo hall in a package of revenue sources to fund projects around the county, including the $93-million event space.

With Streckenbach hoping to have the matter considered this month, officials are weighing with their early thoughts on the plan. More from the Green Bay Press-Gazette:

“I’m going to need to gather a lot more information before I can commit to this,” said Supervisor Dave Kaster, who often opposes spending bills.

Patrick Evans said he supports the temporary sales tax because an estimated 25 to 30 percent of it would be paid by people living outside the county.

“I don’t have a problem using other people’s money,” he said. “If something is a good project, I support it. This is a good project.”

Supervisors Paul Ballard and Staush Gruszynski said they liked the idea, but need to see more details before committing to it.

Board members will get a detailed look at the proposal at a committee meeting in Green Bay Monday afternoon. A Streckenbach aide said the administration will seek full board approval the following week.

Brown County Veterans Memorial Arena was one of the area’s primary arena for decades after opening in the late 1950’s, but was supplanted as a sports venue when the Resch Center opened in 2002.

RELATED STORIES: Board to Fund Brown County Veterans Memorial Arena Replacement; Brown County Veterans Memorial Arena Studied