Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors
Press Release

Historic War Memorial/Milwaukee Art Museum Deal Finalized

Agreement unanimously approved by County Board can now move forward.

By - Aug 30th, 2013 12:40 pm

A monumental funding deal reached between the War Memorial Center and Milwaukee Art Museum is now a done deal. The Milwaukee County Board approved that deal with an 18-0 vote on July 25. Today County Executive Chris Abele took the final step by returning the agreement to the Board unsigned.

This deal will provide much-needed funding for these Milwaukee County icons. The plan calls for repairs to the War Memorial Center along with increasing services for our Veterans. The funding will help the Art Museum protect its priceless collection and will kick-start a $15 million private fundraising plan.

Chairwoman Marina Dimitrijevic reached out to the County Executive to thank him for allowing this compromise to move forward. The Chairwoman recently met with the Executive to personally ask him to sign the agreement.

“The County Executive said he would veto the compromise, but I am glad he changed his mind, “Chairwoman Dimitrijevic said. The Board unanimously supported this plan because it is the right thing to do for Veterans and the arts community. It ensures the integrity of both institutions and guarantees Milwaukee County residents will be able to enjoy these two treasures for generations to come.”

The Board brought in former State Supreme Court Justice Janine Geske to help bring the two sides together. This deal is the result of 18 months of hard work and negotiations between the two publically-owned institutions.

In this compromise the War Memorial Center/Milwaukee Art Museum will receive $1,586,000 per year from the County from 2014 through 2023. This includes an investment of $1,100,000 to the Art Museum and $486,000 to the War Memorial.

“This plan will not only help the War Memorial and the Art Museum, but it honors those who paid the ultimate price in service to our country,” Chairwoman Dimitrijevic said.

Instead of prolonging the process with a veto, the County Executive returned the agreement unsigned so the plan goes into place immediately.

“I hope this is a step toward the County Executive working together with the Board as the public has asked us to do,” Chairwoman Dimitrijevic said. “That amity will be especially important as we work to adopt the County’s budget for next year.”

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