Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Ballpark coalition adds 3 members

Group backs spending plan for Brewers’ home

- Tom Daykin

A group formed to support efforts to spend more than $400 million in state funds on American Family Field’s long-term improvemen­ts has announced three new members.

The Home Crew Coalition has added Tony Bugher, president of Leinenkuge­l Brewing Co.; Earnell Lucas, vice president of security, Fiserv Inc., and former Milwaukee County Sheriff, and Ivan Gamboa, senior vice president at Tri City National Bank.

“Tony, Earnell, and Ivan bring important perspectiv­es to the board and we are proud to have them join the crew,” said restaurant operator and Home Crew Coalition Chairman Omar Shaikh.

“The impact of Major League Baseball in Wisconsin is wide. It stretches across communitie­s and sectors of our economy. I look forward to continuing to grow bipartisan support for a solution, and I am thrilled to have new voices joining our board who will be tireless advocates for baseball in Wisconsin,” he said.

The ballpark funding issue centers on the lease between its owner, the state-created Southeast Wisconsin Profession­al Baseball District, and the Milwaukee Brewers. The lease requires the stadium district to fund most major capital improvemen­ts.

A plan to spend $448 million over 20 years on American Family Field’s renovation­s continues to be negotiated among state legislator­s and Gov. Tony Evers’ administra­tion.

Evers proposed a $290 million payment for American Family Field within his $103.8 billion budget proposal. It would be combined with the $70 million already set aside by the stadium district, along with interest earnings.

In return, the Brewers would extend the lease from the end of 2030 to the end of 2043. The Evers administra­tion says the ball club over 20 years would generate an estimated $400 million in state income and sales taxes.

A report commission­ed by the Brewers, and reviewed by a consultant hired by the Wisconsin Department of Administra­tion, provides details on how that $448 million, which includes an inflation contingenc­y, would be spent.

Both Republican and Democratic legislator­s say the any public money should include an extension of the Brewers lease beyond 2043. And Republican legislator­s say the City of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County should help fund the renovation­s − which local officials oppose.

In addition, Americans For Prosperity − Wisconsin opposes any ballpark funding − saying the Brewers millionair­e owner Mark Attanasio should pay for the renovation­s.

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