GREEN BAY – It will be at least a month before we know whether a Walmart will be built in downtown Green Bay.
The city council voted Tuesday night to delay that decision.
Many of the people in the overcrowded city council chambers wanted to see Green Bay’s Walmart issue put to rest once and for all. Some aldermen shared that opinion.
“I think to delay it is very aggravating to our constituents,” said Alderman Jerry Wiezbiskie.
But other aldermen and Green Bay’s mayor came to bat for a council member who hasn’t been at a city meeting in months.
“Alderman Sladek has a legitimate excuse,” said Jim Schmitt, Green Bay’s mayor. “He suffered a stroke. He is lucky to be alive.”
The council split, five to five, on a motion to delay the Walmart vote. Schmitt broke the tie, saying it is important Alderman Tom Sladek’s constituents are represented on what Schmitt calls a 50-year decision.
“Look, this would be good for me tonight to deal with this tonight because I’m not supporting the project, but bigger than that is representation,” said Schmitt.
Some council members and people opposed to Walmart’s proposal believe the delay is just a stall tactic to gain support for the retailer’s Supercenter store.
“Walmart has proven this many times,” said Troy Kapalczysnki of Green Bay. “What they consistently will do is they will draw it out as long as possible and people just lose interest.”
“Tom Sladek came to us and said listen, I’m part of this council, I’ve been sick and I’ll be back in July. I owe it to my constituents to be able to vote for them. He wants to be part of it,” said Tom DeWane, city council president.
As for Walmart, like previous votes, a company spokesperson had little to say after the meeting.
“We look forward to the next meeting of the city council in July,” said Lisa Nelson, a Walmart spokesperson.
The earliest a vote could happen is July 15.