One of the best and most charming things about Milwaukee is that we have reverence for our history, the things we have done, the places we’ve built and the people who have made our city great.
I love that reverence and I think it’s a strength. Granted, there are people who think our ties to history get in the way of progress, but I think the way we honor things and the way we carefully make decisions helps us build things that stay. Since that horrible white MECCA center has been torn down, it’s hard to find a white elephant in this city.
And that’s why I find myself in support of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in its battle to keep the old Milwaukee Arena (now the UWM Panther Arena) from meeting the wrecking ball in order to build a new downtown arena.
Make no mistake here, I am a strong supporter of the new arena and I think taxpayers should just shut their mouths and chip in to build the thing. What I think, of course, hardly matters to the people who are going to make these decisions.
But I think there are two great reasons to preserve the old facility.
First of all, it’s part of our history and can be a part of the continued growth of UWM into our community. This is a school with a lot of untapped resources and they have lately begun to become a more and more integral part of our city outside the confines of their east side campus.
The arena can be home to the team and the university and can be used in a wide range of activities.
The second reason I think it should be left alone is because there is one site that is clearly the most outstanding candidate for the new arena: the corner of 4th and Wisconsin.
That is clearly the best place in that we’d have the arena directly downtown and would get rid of a at least one place that we clearly don’t want or need.
I don’t know when the last time you were in the Downtown Boston Store, but whenever I’ve strayed there I’m convinced there are more clerks than customers.
Let’s knock that building down. We are now paying the retailer something over $1 million just to stay there. The Grand Avenue Mall (or whatever it’s called now) is on sale for a bargain basement price. I’d let the new owners of the Bucks buy it and begin to create this huge entertainment district they talk about.
Another thing to think about is that Marquette University is expanding to the east and having the arena on 4th street would make it just a couple of blocks from the eastern end of the MU campus.
I think the area north of the Bradley Center is just too far away from our downtown. And if the cost of building on 4th street ups the ante a little bit I think taxpayers can foot the bill in any number of ways.
Another thing people talk about is knocking down the Milwaukee Theatre for the new arena. But it’s a wonderful performing arts facility with horrible management. Just because the operators have been gigantic failures is no reason to knock that down, as well.
The one thing I really don’t want to see is the Milwaukee Arena, home to so many memories, disappear.
With a history in Milwaukee stretching back decades, Dave tries to bring a unique perspective to his writing, whether it's sports, politics, theater or any other issue.
He's seen Milwaukee grow, suffer pangs of growth, strive for success and has been involved in many efforts to both shape and re-shape the city. He's a happy man, now that he's quit playing golf, and enjoys music, his children and grandchildren and the myriad of sports in this state. He loves great food and hates bullies and people who think they are smarter than everyone else.
This whole Internet thing continues to baffle him, but he's willing to play the game as long as OnMilwaukee.com keeps lending him a helping hand. He is constantly amazed that just a few dedicated people can provide so much news and information to a hungry public.
Despite some opinions to the contrary, Dave likes most stuff. But he is a skeptic who constantly wonders about the world around him. So many questions, so few answers.