Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely young daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.
For a time it seemed as though recent talk about a minor league baseball stadium being built in Franklin was just that…talk. The naysayers, as usual, surfaced early. And the hint of any city property taxes being used to fund the project appeared to be, not just a strike, but a third strike. The developer immediately locked in Oak Creek as a Plan B in case the Franklin plan would suffer a quick death.
However, the idea of a potential Franklin site isn’t dead yet as the city has provided a spark of momentum with a Memorandum Of Understanding between Franklin and the developer that will be the subject of a public information hearing Thursday night.
I urge interested Franklin residents to look at the lengthy (133 pages) Draft Franklin Baseball Stadium Market Feasibility Study that was submitted to the Franklin Stadium Task Force on March 21, 2014. The draft was compiled by Johnson Consulting. Here are some critical excerpts:
The planned stadium in Franklin is expected to have a total capacity for approximately 3,100 fans for baseball games. The breakdown for seating is detailed below:
·Fixed Seats: 1,800
·Grass Berm Seating: 500
·Premium/ Semi-Premium Seating-
Premium Suites: 6 (Capacity 12 per suite)
2 Party Suites (Capacity 12 per suite)
Umbrella Bar Group Seating (Capacity 250)
·Overflow/Standing Room: 500 Kid’s fun zone & playground
·Bullpen Perch: 160 linear feet of drink rail above the RF bullpens for fan viewing
·Field Dimensions: LF 310, CF 400, RF 325
·Retail Store: 500 SF fixed concession points of sale (10 cash registers)
·Vendor Carts: 4 (with specialty food items)
Additionally, the proposed stadium will include artificial turf and will be designed to accommodate a larger capacity for outdoor concerts, among other special events. This phase of development at The Rock Sports Complex will also include two ancillary little league baseball fields. The estimated cost of the proposed stadium is approximately $10.5 million. Additional costs include team acquisition, fees and team operating costs that will total approximately $4 million.
The City asked ways to help hedge risk.
Reasons why these venues fail are:
§Poorly capitalized owners
In our judgment, the City has a proven developer with a vested interest in the community. He has shown a willingness to be fair and has existing visitors to the site that he is willing to leverage to the benefit of the stadium.
Other tools that can be used to hedge risk are:
§Be very careful in the project’s capital budget. The proposed cost is low, so it seems responsible.
§Negotiate a risk sharing agreement, where the contractor, developer share any cost over runs.
§Dedicate revenues to the project cost and reserve funds, and use the adjacent real estate for sources of capital.
City of Franklin staff will hold a public information meeting for the
purpose of providing information and obtaining comment on the
proposed Memorandum of Understanding between the City of Franklin, Wisconsin, and Zimmerman Ventures, LLC for a minor league baseball
As people in the audience quietly and anxiously waited for tonight’s Franklin Common Council to officially begin in a matter of minutes, Franklin’s new mayor Steve Olson (who actually took office at midnight) broke the ice with humor.
“I apologize for the glare” coming from the front of the chambers where he was seated.
When the meeting did start, Olson got serious, thanking those who voted for him. And those who didn’t?
“I will work hard to earn your trust.”
Shortly after his comments, Olson took the official oath of office along with Alderwomen Kristen Wilhelm, Janet Evans, and Susanne Mayer. Mayer’s children presented her with a floral bouquet.
During the regular citizen comment period that is conducted at the beginning of each Common Council meeting, passionate watchdog and observer of Franklin politics Orville Seymer said, “I always felt confident the city was in good hands,” and he expressed the same confidence in the current group of city leaders.
Mayor Olson then presented former mayor Tom Taylor who served for nine years in the post with a special proclamation.
With the new lineup representing the city, Taylor said, “Franklin has an extremely bright future.” Taylor received a standing ovation.
Another proclamation was to be given to outgoing alderman Steve Taylor, but he could not attend due to a family issue.
Votes were then taken on a litany of appointments to aldermen to specific committees or commission, a rather tedious but still important business matter. Prior to the votes, Olson cautioned the audience that this would be, in all honesty, "boring" and if anyone wanted to get up and leave, it would be understood.
All of the votes were approved, and then came the newsworthy item. Olson announced that there was a reason all the votes went so smoothly. Aldermen were asked prior to the meeting which committees and commissions they'd prefer to sit on, and lo and behold, they all got they wanted. Ideally, having worked in and/or covered local and state politics since 1978, this is the correct route to go.
The aldermen then elected their Council President. Kristen Wilhelm and Dan Mayer were both nominated. Mayor Olson, who does not vote, said “I will be happy to work with either nominee.”
A secret ballot was taken with Wilhelm winning, 4-2. In a recent blog I suggested Wilhelm, the most senior member of the Common Council could be the next Council President who essentially becomes vice-mayor when the mayor is out of town.
“I travel a lot so this will not be a ceremonial position,” said Mayor Olson.
Here is the special proclamation presented to Tom Taylor: