By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Nov 02, 2023 at 12:42 PM

The Iron District Milwaukee will get $9.3 million of American Rescue Plan Act Funds as part of a $36 million funding package announced by Gov. Tony Evers.

The $220 million development includes a professional soccer stadium, a hotel and apartments, the latter of which are already under construction on the west side of the Downtown Milwaukee site, bounded by 6th, 10th, Michigan and Clybourn Streets.

According to the statement, the $9.3 million grant will go toward the 8,000-seat stadium part of the development. In addition to housing the new team, the stadium will be home pitch for Marquette University men’s and women’s soccer clubs and Marquette’s men’s and women’s lacrosse teams, as well as youth and community programming.

“We want to thank Gov. Tony Evers and his administration for believing in our vision and this project,” said Jim Kacmarcik, Chairman and CEO of Kacmarcik Enterprises, in a statement Thursday.

Kacmarcik Enterprises owns the rights to the future Milwaukee USL Championship franchise, which is currently mulling a name and branding for the team. The company has partenred on the development with Bear Real Estate Group.

“Milwaukee and Wisconsin are hungry for professional soccer, which is evident by the more than 200,000 votes that were cast for our name the team competition," Kacmarcik added.

“Having the backing of the Governor’s office and the state will provide important momentum for bringing the Iron District Milwaukee to fruition and delivering a catalytic development.”

Kacmarcik Enterprises said that an study estimated that the Iron District will generate nearly $40 million a year and create 588 jobs, with more than $23 million in annual payroll.

“The open dialogue that we’ve had with the Governor’s office, has been important for sharing our goals and vision for this project,” said S.R. Mills, CEO of Bear Real Estate Group. “While we’re more than thankful for this grant, we’re also thankful for the opportunity to tell our story about the positive local and statewide impact this will have.”

Milwaukee Pro Soccer will play in the USL Championship, which is the second-highest level of pro soccer in the country.

“The Milwaukee Barons Soccer Supporters Group, wishes to express its profound gratitude to the Governor of Wisconsin for the generous grant that will help towards bringing professional soccer to our beloved city,” said Patrick Finn, president of the Milwaukee Barons supporters group.

“Governor Evers has shown incredible foresight in recognizing the significance of professional soccer in Milwaukee. This grant not only serves as a substantial financial investment but also a resounding vote of confidence in the power of soccer to unite communities and invigorate local culture.”

Milwaukee Pro Soccer is slated to join the USL Championship, the second-highest tier of professional soccer in the United States.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.