The new Wisconsin Herd season begins Nov. 8.
By Miles Maguire
In a gesture of support for the upcoming Wisconsin Herd season, the city has agreed to release almost $400,000 in tax incentive payments to the owner of the Menominee Nation Arena.
“We believe this settlement is necessary for the continued operation” of the arena, said City Manager Mark Rohloff. “The city of Oshkosh recognizes the positive impact the Wisconsin Herd and other events held at the Menominee Nation Arena have on the Oshkosh community, and we believe this settlement will allow us to continue our plans for the Sawdust District.”
Rohloff emphasized that this move is only a “partial settlement” of the dispute between the city and Fox Valley Pro Basketball Inc., the owner and developer of the arena. The city has agreed to return $5.5 million over time to the developer from property taxes collected on the site.
If all had gone according to plan, the city had been prepared to make its first payment, $429,891, to the arena owner as of Nov. 1. But Fox Valley filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Aug. 19, and its plans for moving forward drew objections from its major creditor and from the city.
Those plans were heavily dependent on the cash infusion from the city under the terms of the tax incentive plan for the project, and the city expressed concerns that the money might be better used in other ways.
Under the agreement announced Friday, the city will proceed with a payment to the property owner after deducting outstanding bills for police and fire services and for legal costs incurred in relation to the bankruptcy. Fox Valley has agreed to then pay roughly $8,000 in outstanding utility bills back to the city.
The net proceeds to the developer will be about $385,000.
“We recognize that it’s in the city’s interest for the development to be successful,” Rohloff said. “Their success is dependent on the upcoming Herd season.”
The Herd season begins Nov. 8 with a home game against the Windy City Bulls.