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Milwaukee's lesson for Kansas City on building a stadium that works for all

Activists, unions and neighborhood groups have been calling on the Kansas City Royals to sign a community benefits agreement for their proposed downtown stadium for months. And they have a good blueprint of what that could look like. The NBA's Bucks made similar promises to their Milwaukee hometown before constructing a new basketball arena, and University of Wisconsin economist Laura Dresser says it shows a path to "demand real results from a public investment in a private interest."

When the Milwaukee Bucks built their arena, Fiserv Forum, and the surrounding "Deer District," the team agreed to a slew of conditions that made it a better deal for local workers and the community as a whole.

Low-wage workers in Kansas City and their allies want a similarly strong community benefits agreement from the Kansas City Royals as the team pursues a new downtown stadium.

Laura Dresser is an economist at the University of Wisconsin and associate director of the High Roads Strategy Center. She spoke with Up To Date's Steve Kraske about her report on community benefits agreements and how they impact a city.

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Kansas City Today is hosted by Nomin Ujiyediin. It is produced by Anna Schmidt and KCUR Studios, and edited by Madeline Fox and Gabe Rosenberg.

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Anna Schmidt is the fall 2023 intern for KCUR Studios. She recently graduated from Kansas State University, where she was the Opinions Desk Editor for the Collegian student newspaper and took over the role of podcast host. You can email her at anna.schmidt@kcur.org.
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