To Flash or Not To Flash

I have been playing with ideas on improving the website I run for my America’s Army clan (158th Regimental Combat Team). It’s a simple php-nuke site, but there is getting to be so much data, especially in the blocks, that I want to clean it up and present the data nicer.

One significant option is to replace the huge navigation block with a flash navigation menu. The footprint savings would be huge. Unfortunately (or maybe not), I dont know flash. Okay, easy enough, just teach it to myself. Howeve, after looking at the cost of Flash 8 software, that would become an expensive new hobby. I have looked at some of those flash menu builders, but none really do quite what I want. Plus, for a one time purchase and most likely use, they are relatively expensive. I should probably just get Flash 8 and plan to do even more for my sites. Are there other alternaties (SwishMax?) to Flash 8 I am not aware of?
Anyways, just ranting as I try to rationalize the expenditure…