ASHWAUBENON, Wis (WFRV) The future of the Brown County Memorial Arena is again up for debate with the village president of Ashwaubenon saying it’s time a replacement plan was mapped out. The arena is 58 years old and Mike Aubinger says it’s time to retire the old facility.
Ask Mike Aubinger what he thinks about the Brown County Memorial Arena and he’ll speak his mind.
“It’s not a structure that is withstanding time well,” said Aubinger.
As village president of Ashwaubenon – where the arena is located – Aubinger says it’s time local leaders take on a sense of urgency and decide this facility’s future.
“The infrastructure there is aging to the point where it’s costing more to keep up the facility than to put something else in it’s place,” said Aubinger.
PMI Entertainment Group programs and manages the arena, Shopko Hall and the Resch Center for the county. The arena is still being used.
“We have over 100 events days a year, boat show, RV show,” said PMI president, Ken Wachter.
Yet Wachter says it’s very old and requires a lot of upkeep.
“Maintenance and operations for all three building is over $350,000 a year and a lot of it comes here,” Wachter said.
Since 2005 PMI has spent $300,000 on at least two studies looking at how best to use the property. But up until this point – a plan for moving forward and a way to pay for it – has remained elusive. Something even Brown County Executive Troy Streckenbach says needs to be addressed soon by the County Board.
“We’re at a point in time when we’ll have major systems failures,” said Streckenbach. “Might become costly to replace – and it is time for us to have that conversation of what is next.”
“The county which owns the facility should start to plan into the future and we as communities – need to step up in that planning.” said Aubinger.
An area lawmaker has proposed that 25 percent of excess Lambeau Field sales tax be used for an arena project.
Aubinger says the future of the facility needs to be made a priority for the region.