American Family Field was one of the largest construction projects in Wisconsin history. It was built with US$290 million of public funds from a 0.1% sales tax that began January 1, 1996, and ended on March 31, 2020. The tax was applied on purchases in Milwaukee County and four surrounding counties: Ozaukee, Racine, Washington, and Waukesha. The tax was controversial, in part because of the notion of using public funds for a privately owned sports team. The state senator who cast the deciding vote in the funding bill, George Petak of Racine, lost a recall election based on his vote for the stadium.
On November 9, 1996, groundbreaking took place in a parking lot behind County Stadium. Originally scheduled to open in 2000, American Family Field’s construction was delayed after three construction workers were killed in an accident. A Lampson Transi-lift crane 3, brought in to build the roof, collapsed while lifting a 450-ton roof section, during windy conditions, on July 14, 1999, killing three workers. A camera crew was filming construction of the stadium on that day and captured the collapse on video as it occurred. Repair work and an investigation forced the Brewers to stay in County Stadium for one more year, until 2001. There was some talk of having the Brewers move to American Family Field in the middle of 2000, but it was determined that too many issues would need to be resolved for it to be a realistic possibility.
Tenant: Milwaukee Brewers (MLB)