OSHKOSH, Wis. (WBAY) – The Milwaukee Bucks made it official Wednesday: As Action 2 News as reported this week, the team is buying an NBA development league team to begin playing in Oshkosh this fall.
The Milwaukee Bucks will be the 20th NBA franchise to own and operate a D-league team.
“This is kind of a little bit over a year-and-a-half of vision becoming reality,” Milwaukee Bucks president Peter Feigin said.
“We knew fairly early on that this is a place we could really call home. We’re excited that Oshkosh is now part of our family of NBA Development League markets,” NBA Development League president Malcolm Turner said.
The Bucks and the City of Oshkosh say this announcement is about more than just basketball. They’re all excited about having a team here, but the city is talking further development of the area around the arena and how the partnership with the Bucks helps.
“We think we can be a catalyst for significant change and moving this city forward in a place that’s needed it,” Fox Valley Pro Basketball president Greg Pierce said.
Parts of the old Buckstaff Furniture building still stand along Main Street on Oshkosh’s south shore, but soon the rubble and debris will make way for a 3,500-seat arena.
Mayor Steve Cummings says the arena development improves an area he considers an eyesore, but it’s part of a larger vision for the Sawdust District.
“Everywhere you look there’s something being re-developed in the city and the riverfront, now the Sawdust District,” Cummings said. “It’s all about teamwork and the commitment to keep Oshkosh moving forward. Their efforts will transform an area that has been blighted for decades into the crown jewel of Oshkosh.”
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett was at Wednesday’s announcement, offering his city as an example of what could happen to Oshkosh with a new team coming to town.
“It’s going to make downtown Oshkosh and the heart of Oshkosh a more desirable place, just as it has happened in the City of Milwaukee,” Barrett said.
The Bucks say they want work on the arena to get started right away. and complete construction by the fall. Unlike the Bucks arena in Milwaukee, private investors will cover all the costs for the arena in Oshkosh.
Mayor Cummings said, “We were a boom town a hundred-and-so years ago because of lumber. We are now a boom town again because of the citizens of Oshkosh.”