The Milwaukee Cultural and Entertainment Capital Needs Task Force today conducted a discussion featuring business leaders from Oklahoma City, Denver and Cleveland, who shared insights about how their communities rallied to build public support to build NBA arenas and invest in other cultural and mass transit infrastructure projects.
The featured speakers were: Roy Williams, president of Greater Oklahoma City Chamber; Kelly Brough, president of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, and Joseph Roman, president of the Greater Cleveland Partnership.
After the discussion, the speakers told BizTimes that it is critical for key publicly elected officials to be champions for public investments in entertainment and cultural assets such as a new arena.
"Itâ€™s critical because they have constituents," Williams said.
"We had governors who were very supportive," Roman said.
"The public sector has to part of it," Brough said.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele did not attend todayâ€™s meeting.
Aside from lacking a vocal public champion, the Milwaukee initiative faces one other headwind that the other markets did not: The perception that local talk radio hosts, who scream every time the words "mass transit," "trains" or "new taxes" are even whispered, can disproportionately dominate the public discourse.
"People, they hear all that clutter, and they think that reflects the masses, but it doesnâ€™t," Williams said. "Just let it go, because the next bloody accident will take over their show. We go around them to the people."
"We go to the people who vote," Roman said.
Fifty years from now, people in Milwaukee will be assessing the legacy their forefathers left them, Roman said.
"Thatâ€™s you. Thatâ€™s us," Roman said.
BizTimes conducted in-depth interviews with Williams, Brough and Roman in advance of todayâ€™s forum to document how Oklahoma City, Denver and Cleveland have invested in their cultural assets and examine the lessons that could be learned for Milwaukee. The report will be the cover story of the July 11 issue of BizTimes Milwaukee magazine.
Steve Jagler is executive editor of BizTimes Milwaukee.
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Steve Jagler
Published April 22, 2015
Several jaws dropped and eyebrows rose in January when BizTimes predicted a robust year of national economic growth for 2015. Well, we're at the quarter pole, and so far, so good.
Published April 8, 2015
Under new ownership, the Milwaukee Bucks made significant strides by building a young pool of talent on the court this season. However, the organization also has quickly assembled an impressive pool of young talent off the court in the front office.
Published March 25, 2015
By virtually every measure, Minnesota is taking Wisconsin's lunch money, according to a recent study by the LaCrosse Tribune, which lies right at the border.
Published March 11, 2015
In his Feb. 23 column for the BizTimes, Steve Jagler observed that each time a project is proposed to propel the city forward, someone or something seems to pop up and attempts to stop it. Judging from the feedback Steve Jagler received in response to his piece, many readers feel the same way.
Published Feb. 9, 2015
Since 1851, Wisconsin's state motto has been "Forward." However, these days, a more appropriate motto might be "Just hold on a minute..."
Published Jan. 14, 2015
If it seems like so many public policy decisions are hanging fire in Wisconsin these days, it's only because they are. And so many of these loose ends seem to be intertwined and interdependent.
Published Dec. 23, 2014
As the legal slog to develop a new streetcar system in Downtown Milwaukee continues to play out in court, in City Hall and at the Wisconsin Public Service Commission, proponents and opponents alike would do well to keep an eye on Cincinnati.
Published Dec. 2, 2014
If asked to return for another term as secretary and chief executive officer of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., Reed Hall says he would be honored to serve again.
Published Nov. 14, 2014
In recent years, the Milwaukee Bucks have not had much to celebrate when they've conducted their annual preview luncheon with the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce. This year, however, there was a tangible buzz in the room at the event, which was held at the Harley-Davidson Museum.
Published Nov. 12, 2014
In essence, preserving net neutrality would ensure that all consumers and businesses will have universal levels of access to a fast Internet, not just some preferred customers who would pay for "faster lanes" on the Internet.