GREEN BAY – There was a vote of support late Monday night for Walmart’s proposal to bring a store to downtown Green Bay.
The city’s advisory committee voted 4 to 3 to recommend the full city council approve Walmart’s plan.
At a special meeting, Green Bay residents and aldermen didn’t hold back how they felt about the retail giant.
“Where is your line in the sand to stand by your founder’s words that if you’re not wanted in a city you’ll go away?” said Leah Liebergen of Green Bay.
“Not only the survey I got back, but people I knocked the doors to were overwhelmingly in favor of Walmart,” said Alderman Guy Zima. “Anybody who thinks differently is just not awake.”
City Council President Tom DeWane set the meeting up in hopes of speeding up the process for a Walmart decision. He also wanted people to see Walmart’s proposal, which calls for a 154,000 square foot store with more than 600 parking spaces.
“We can be an anchor that can help drive the traffic that helps your small businesses thrive and survive,” said Lisa Nelson, a spokesperson for Walmart.
The city’s advisory committee voted to support Walmart’s plan. However, some residents and aldermen argue the vote means little considering the proposal legally needs support from the city’s plan commission and full council.
“I don’t understand the point,” said Rhonda Sitnikau of Green Bay. “We have a council president who actually thinks he can railroad this through and he can’t.”
“We need to get more information,” said Alderman Mark Steuer. “I feel like it’s being ramrodded right now.”
“Those who wanted to said ‘hey I like the plan the way it’s been presented’ and that’s it,” said De Wane. “It doesn’t mean anything. It still has to go to council.”
The earliest the council could take up the Walmart proposal is next month.