MILWAUKEE – From Titletown to the Deer District, professional sports teams are expanding their footprint in the Badger State and nationwide, turning stadiums, arenas and ballparks into year-round attractions. A county supervisor and an urban planner want the Milwaukee Brewers to do the same.
This pitch is really about creating a neighborhood around the ballpark, and to do so, a county supervisor drafted a two-part resolution. It asks the state Department of Transportation to study dismantling part of State Highway 175 and the Ballpark District to consider redeveloping some parking lots.
There’s no question tailgating is as much a part of the Brewers’ culture as the M and B logo. It’s why the Brewers have more than 12,000 parking spots outside American Family Field, but County Supervisor Peter Burgelis, a Brewers fan, sees an opportunity for something more.
“This is a resolution to take a look at and start a conversation about putting the parking lot around AmFam Field to better use,” said Burgelis.
He envisions something like what the Bucks built outside Fiserv Forum in the Deer District.
“When we tore down the Park East Freeway downtown, that eventually resulted in a billion — with a B — billion dollars’ worth of private investment downtown,” said Burgelis.
Urban Planner Robin Palm proposes a similar idea: Tear down State Highway 175, south of I-94, and redevelop that land and some parking lots south of the ballpark into a new neighborhood – the Beer District.
“Right now, you just have asphalt,” said Palm. “It’s only providing the value when there’s a car paying to park on it.”
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Palm envisions a triple play of retail, commercial and residential use that wouldn’t hinder tailgating at all.
“When the tailgaters come, it’s a party because there’s so many people here,” said Palm. “It kind of closes in the experience. We’re trying to get that for 365 days a year.”
This proposal comes as the Brewers are studying how to fund long-term improvements at the ballpark now that the five-county sales tax is done. When FOX6 News asked, a team spokesman said the Brewers had no comment on this resolution.