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Milwaukee Mile to get new grandstand

8/10/00


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WEST ALLIS, Wis. -- Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson announced plans for a $100 million, four-phase, revitalization project for the Wisconsin State Fair, including $25 million earmarked for a new multi-purpose grandstand at The Milwaukee Mile. The State Fair revitalization will take place over the next four years, with the multi-purpose grandstand being one of the highest priorities and scheduled to be completed in time for the 2002 racing season. Phase I has already been completed and being enjoyed by patrons of this year's State Fair.

In addition to their participation with the State Fair in construction of the new grandstand, The Milwaukee Mile organization will also replace the bleacher seating areas in turns one and four. "The race fans of Wisconsin deserve a facility from which they can better enjoy their favorite sport," said Milwaukee Mile President, Carl Haas. "My organization is committed to providing premier racing events to showcase the 'new' fairgrounds and am looking forward to the continued alliance with State Fair Park to make The Milwaukee Mile the best place to watch short-oval racing in the world."

The current grandstand, built in three sections starting in 1936, then merged with the roof in 1938, is the oldest spectator sports venue in the state. The Milwaukee Mile, having hosted its first auto race nearly 100 years ago in 1903, is the oldest major race track in the world.

Preliminary design work for the new grandstand is already in progress. Tentative plans call for a multi-tiered, steel structure with brick facade consisting of approximately 25,000 seats, topped with suites and press facilities. More suites and expanded press facilities can be added as needed. Two concourse areas will house concession areas, restrooms and vendor space. A second level terrace will be attached to the west (back) side of the structure providing enhanced views and seating overlooking the inside of State Fair Park.

Jim Melvin, The Milwaukee Mile's General Manager said the approximate 20,000 new bleacher seats in turns one and four will give the race track's new stadium a total seating capacity of about 45,000, with all seats having excellent viewing. The current seating capacity is 37,000. However, many of those seats have limited site lines.

"With this plan, we can offer our fans more than double the amount of quality seats we have had to work with in the past," Melvin said. "This will be a great way to end The Mile's first century of racing and begin a new era for 'America's Legendary Oval.' "

Wisconsin's No. 1 race fan, Governor Tommy Thompson, who attends many of the events at The Milwaukee Mile, is excited about the plan and what it can do to keep racing a prime attraction for visitors to Wisconsin. "Carl Haas and his staff at The Milwaukee Mile have done an outstanding job returning the race track to a high level of prominence within the motorsports industry and the place for fans to see highly entertaining and competitive auto racing," Thompson said. "Having a viable motorsports facility is not only beneficial to the State Fair and the Milwaukee area, but to the entire state of Wisconsin as well. The events that take place there turn the national and international spotlight on Wisconsin and draw visitors from around the world. The new grandstand will offer race fans more comfort, convenience, better sight lines and provide a more enjoyable experience, helping to insure the continuation of major league motorsports in Milwaukee for many years to come."

Carl Haas Racing Teams became the promoter of motorsports events at The Milwaukee Mile in 1992. At the time, they signed four, seven-year contracts to be the exclusive organizer of motorsports events at the track.

The final event of the 2000 season at The Milwaukee Mile is the American Speed Association stock car race on August 27th. Reserved seat tickets are priced at $22 and $20, with general admission seating just $16. The 2001 CART FedEx Championship Series Miller Lite 225 weekend will be held June 1-3. For information, contact The Milwaukee Mile box office by phone at 414-453-8277 or e-mail at themile@milwaukeemile.com.

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