State Audit: Long-term Plan Needed for Milwaukee Mile

Written by Save the Mile Administrator on .

wall 2 smOn Friday, January 5th, the Wisconsin Joint Legislative Audit Committee released a long awaited report detailing the operations State Fair Park from mid-2013 through mid-2017.

The report called out the State Fair Park agency for poor record keeping and inconsistent procurement procedures. In addition, the report found that State Fair Park does not have a comprehensive, long-term plan for assessing the condition of its primary grounds and facilities or a formal plan for the future use of the Milwaukee Mile racetrack.

Read the Full Report (PDF)

Track Revenue Down

The Milwaukee Mile, which hasn't hosted a major league race since 2015, continues to generate revenue for State Fair Park through a variety of uses including racing clubs, driving schools, charitable events and other private events. The track generated $286,400 in revenue during the 2016-17 fiscal year. That's down from $487,100 generated during the 2012-13 fiscal year.  The decrease is largely due to the lack of major racing events, which generated an average of $102,000 per event in previous years.

In addition to revenue generated exclusively by on track activities, the Milwaukee Mile is heavily used during Wisconsin State Fair. The grandstand is used for the main stage headliner acts during the fair, and the track itself is used for parking 3,000 cars per day. However, for a variety of reasons, State Fair Park was unable to determine the amount of revenue specifically generated by the track during the fair.

State Audit Possible in Near Future

Written by Save the Mile Administrator on .

The Wisconsin Joint Legislative Audit Committee held a public hearing and executive session on Thursday, March 30th to discuss a possible audit of Wisconsin State Fair Park. Following the hearing and executive session, the proposed audit was recommended for passage. Based on the passage, it's likely that the Legislative Audit Bureau will conduct an audit of WSFP in the coming months.

While the exact scope of the proposed audit has yet to be determined, it will likely examine all aspects of the management of State Fair Park. This includes the performance/operation of the Milwaukee Mile.

Milwaukee’s Empty Mile

Written by Corrinne Hess - BizTimes on .

Milwaukee's Empty MileWithout racing, ‘America’s Legendary Oval’ becomes concrete wasteland

The roar of Indy cars once thrilled young and old at the Milwaukee Mile, but these days the only thing capturing anyone’s attention is the amount of money still owed on the now quiet West Allis track.

The Mile’s storied history made “America’s Legendary Oval” an institution on southeastern Wisconsin’s sports and cultural scene for more than 100 years. But lawsuits and debt, fallouts with promoters and the overall decline of racing itself has left the Mile without a major racing event this year and nothing on the books for 2017.

Although some have not given up hope, there is no sign that racing will ever return to the track. The last organized race at the Mile, which once hosted racing legends Mario Andretti, Rusty Wallace and A.J. Foyt, was the now defunct Milwaukee IndyFest in July 2015.

“Racing is dead (at the Milwaukee Mile), but everyone is afraid to say it because talk radio will kill you,” said John Stibal, West Allis community development director.

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Slow Dismantling of the Milwaukee Mile?

Written by Save the Mile Administrator on .

Section YY Bleachers at Milwaukee MileOn March 3rd, the Wisconsin State Fair Park Board placed section YY of the Milwaukee Mile bleachers up for auction on the popular GovDeals marketplace. The auction, which ends March 17th, allows interested parties to bid on the section of aluminum and steel grandstand bleachers. Section YY, which is located at the turn 4 end of the track, has a capacity of about 1,100 spectators. The winner of the auction will be responsible for removal of the bleachers between April 22nd and May 13th. Wisconsin State Fair Park will remove all utilities, and be responsible for restoration of the space once the bleachers are removed.

What does this mean for the Milwaukee Mile?

Many believe that the removal of Section YY could mark the start of a slow and systematic dismantling of the oldest continuously operating speedway in the world.

It's hard to argue that it's not.

The downsizing of grandstand capacity has been a common trend at many tracks nationwide. Tracks that have removed grandstands include Daytona, Atlanta, Charlotte, Las Vegas, and even Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The key difference between those grandstand reductions and what's happening at the Milwaukee Mile is simple: Those other tracks continue to host top tier racing series such as NASCAR, IndyCar and others.

With a lack of major league auto racing at the Milwaukee Mile in 2016, and the odds of it returning looking slimmer than ever, it's quite plausible that there may not be a need for the grandstand bleachers in the future.

This isn't the first time that grandstand seating has been removed from the track. Section ZZ was the first section of grandstand bleachers to be sold off without fanfare several years back. With Section YY being put up for auction this year, it would seem possible that others could be soon to follow.

Yet, the state has indicated that they are not giving up on the track.  Even with the removal of section YY, the Milwaukee Mile will still of a grandstand capacity in excess of 35,000.  With over 30 events on the 2016 calendar, there's optimism that the track can survive to make history again some day.

What can you do?

As always, we encourage you to show your support for the historic Milwaukee Mile by:

Signing our online petition

Contacting Lawmakers