Friday News Drop: A fix for the Brewers, car thefts and brat lovers
Milwaukee’s a big city with a lot going on. Catch up before spending your weekend either purposely or accidentally ignoring the news.
Home (of the Brewers) repair
As any homeowner can tell you, there’s always a project on your to-do list. Fix a leaky faucet. Touch up paint in your bedroom. Upgrade your scoreboard’s LED graphics.
That last one is particular to a lovely 39-bedroom, 66-bathroom home in Milwaukee’s Story Hill neighborhood that is far from a fixer-upper but does need some improvements.
According to reports from a pair of consultants, American Family Field will require an estimated $448 million in renovations over the next two decades. That tab will fall at the feet (and wallet) of the Southeast Professional Baseball Park District, which owns the stadium and leases it to the Brewers.
In its report prepared for the team, Venture Solutions Group said the biggest chunk of the price tag covers improvements necessary to address “changing fan demographics” by creating areas that “provide a unique space for socializing while the game becomes background entertainment, rather than their primary reason for being at the Ballpark.”
As someone not in those demographics and a longtime Brewers fan, that analysis caused me to rub an entire layer of skin off my face. But, hey, the times they are a-changin’. And the lease requires the Southeast Professional Baseball Park District to keep up with those changes by footing the bill for upgrades found at 75% of MLB stadiums.
In his state budget proposal, Gov. Tony Evers set aside $290 million from Wisconsin’s $7 billion surplus to help fulfill that obligation. We’ll see what happens when the Republican-controlled state legislature officially writes the budget for 2023-2025. In the meantime, you can find a more detailed rundown of improvements in Tom Daykin’s story at JSOnline.
Auto repair for Hyundai, Kia owners
Milwaukee hasn’t been immune to the rash of recent car thefts, many of which involve Hyundai and Kia vehicles from the 2015-2019 model years. Earlier this week, the automakers finally announced a software fix they think will address the problem.
The patch will include a requirement that a vehicle’s key must be in the ignition for the vehicle’s engine to start. It seems like that should be a standard feature, like tires and windows, but my vehicle-design experience is limited, so it’s nice the automakers are getting around to providing owners with the free upgrade. The software will also block ignition after using the key fob to lock the doors, allowing it only after the vehicle has been unlocked.
You can get more information on Hyundai’s software rollout schedule here and see if you’re eligible for the free update by calling Hyundai at 800-633-5151 or Kia at 800-333-4542.
Free brats return
Usinger’s has been a part of Milwaukee since part of Milwaukee still spelled it “Milwaukie.” As such, the city has celebrated Fred Usinger Day since 2005 to honor the man who founded the sausage-maker back in 1880.
In conjunction with the occasion, the Old German Beer Hall will once again hand out brats — one per person — next Thursday, Feb. 23. You can get there as early as 8 a.m. if you’re in the mood for a frühstückwurst (Google Translate says that’s “breakfast sausage”), and OGBH says it’ll go as late as 8 p.m. or while supplies last. It also pointed out that because Usinger’s factory and store are right across the street, “there is no need to worry about running out of brats.”
You can get more information about the celebration, which includes music and free beer from a keg tapped by Fredrick “Fritz” Usinger IV (again, while supplies last), on the Facebook event page.