Walmart shows plans at neighborhood meeting

GREEN BAY – For the third time in the past nine months, Walmart hosted a neighborhood meeting on its plans for downtown Green Bay.

But the amount of people and their views were much different this time than the previous meetings.

The retailer wants to build a Supercenter on the Larsen Green site on Broadway. The store would be 154,000 square feet with more than 600 parking spaces.

Before that can happen, Walmart must have zoning approval from the city’s plan commission and full city council.

About a hundred opponents of the downtown Walmart Supercenter proposal decided to take a different approach to the retailer’s third neighborhood meeting at the Neville Public Museum. They protested outside.

“Because we don’t need another box sitting downtown on Broadway,” said Ryan Welty of Green Bay.

At past meetings, opponents went inside to talk with Walmart representatives. You could tell opponents stayed away, as a much smaller crowd talked with company officials inside.

“It’s top shelf and I have nothing to do with the project, but I know my architecture and I believe they’ve done a great job,” said Ben Schenkelberg of Suamico.

“I don’t want to run across town for groceries and stuff,” said Paul Barterma of Green Bay.

Barterma says Walmart’s latest plans are an improvement, but believes the retailer could do better for Broadway.

“This is Michigan Avenue of Green Bay, so if you’re going to put it there, at that location, you’ve got to bring something special into play,” said Barterma.

Walmart’s changes since the last neighborhood meeting are mostly cosmetic. They include a new red brick look and more windows.

“I would endorse their design,” said Schenkelberg.

The people outside disagreed.

“I think Walmart is listening to Walmart,” said Sarah Gallagher of Green Bay.

“We submitted a proposal to the city and that reflects a lot of input from a lot of different people and a lot of different groups, including the people that are outside,” said Lisa Nelson, a Walmart spokesperson.

In two weeks, the city will begin the process of deciding whether the changes are enough. That’s when the plan commission is expected to take up the issue.

The earliest the city council could take up the decision is June 17th. However, some aldermen have suggested they may schedule a special meeting to take up the issue earlier.

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