Ashwaubenon to hold hearings on redevelopment plans

ASHWAUBENON – It’s not a 401(k), but the apartment building David Lessmiller owns in Ashwaubenon is his nest egg – and it’s falling within the village’s redevelopment sights.

“This is my retirement, this is my job – this is what I do,” said Lessmiller.

For many years, there has been talk of turning the area around Lambeau Field into an entertainment district. Now, it looks like the Village of Ashwaubenon is preparing to do something about all that talk.

The village mailed out notices to the owners of 125 pieces of property – like Lessmiller – telling them the village may take the property for “urban renewal.”

The properties are between S. Oneida St. and Ashland Ave. and are made up of a variety of types – from light industrial, residential; to sports bars and property that is a part of the Green Bay Packers practice facilities.

Village leaders say the plans they are proposing will make it easier for future development of this area into an entertainment district.

But Lessmiller says the village’s plans are misplaced, questioning why the village would want to create an entertainment district, while pushing people out of their homes.

“I’m not for it at all and I don’t think anybody on the street is, or the tenants.”

At Extreme Audio at Potts and Holmgren Way, manager Corey Olmsted is concerned what the redevelopment plans might mean for the company’s location; especially if the Packers return to their winning ways.

“If essentially, we win another Super Bowl, does that speed up the process?” questioned Olmsted. “If we do go again, then we’re going to get forced out sooner.”

“The likelihood of us going in there and being a cowboy, and starting to condemn properties is very unlikely,” said Village President Mike Aubinger. He says the redevelopment plan is smart planning for the future.

“It’s to help spur the whole area – development. It’s not developing at a fast rate, we thought it would be. This, we hope, will help spark it.”
Aubinger says they are not sure yet what types of businesses might move in. The area is the village’s first industrial park.

It’s where Mark William’s family set up an auto body shop on Potts Ave. Right around the time New City Stadium – better known as Lambeau Field – was built.

“For me, personally, I can’t wait – I got to continue moving my business forward,” said Williams, who is also a village trustee.

He says the redevelopment plan for Potts Ave. and the surrounding area will give property owners an easier way to sell in the future.

“It doesn’t change anything I’ve been here doing, business-wise, for the last 35 years or more, because they’ve been talking about re-doing this area since 1997.”

A redevelopment plan that Aubinger says – even if it moves forward, is years in the making.

The proposal calls for creation of a new tax incremental financing district. Under that type of plan, properties can be declared a blight and purchased by the village.

A public hearing on the plans is scheduled for Monday at 5:30 p.m. at the Ashwaubenon village hall.

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