Could a vote today end Green Bay Walmart debate?

GREEN BAY – Tuesday night is the big city council vote on a proposed Walmart in downtown Green Bay.

Walmart wants to build a 154,000 square foot Supercenter with more than 600 parking spaces on the Larsen Green site on Broadway.

Members of Green Bay’s city council say their phones have been ringing off the hook the past two days.

“My phone is overloaded right now as I’m sure others are as well,” said Alderman Mark Steuer.

Council President Tom DeWane says he’s received 20 calls since Sunday morning. DeWane believes the Walmart issue will be put to rest after Tuesday’s council vote.

“I’ve talked to Walmart quite a few times,” said DeWane. “They guarantee me that if it doesn’t pass by tomorrow, they are not going to come back with anything else.”

On Broadway, Inc. Executive Director Christopher Naumann disagrees. On Broadway owns the property Walmart wants to build on.

“Until either something is in the ground, or there is an alternative, or there’s an ownership change it’s really not ending,” said Naumann.

If the council votes down Walmart’s rezoning request, Naumann says On Broadway will have to consider foreclosure on the property. He says if that happens, it would eventually end up in the city’s hands. That’s something DeWane doesn’t want to see.

“I just hope that everybody understands that we’re at great risk here and Walmart is coming in with open arms and putting a lot of money into this, a lot of thought,” said DeWane. “They worked with us over and over, so I’m hoping it passes.”

“It’s kind of pay me now or pay me later,” said Steuer.

Steuer says he’d rather wait, partly because Walmart’s request goes against the city’s plan for downtown.

“And we had much input from many, many citizens and businesses that wanted to see mixed use development and that’s what we want,” said Steuer. “That’s what I’d like.”

“I believe this project has been vetted in every corner it could be vetted, so we’re happy the public process continues to move forward,” said Naumann.

Tuesday’s council meeting is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. The public will be allowed to speak on the issue.

FOX 11′s Ben Krumholz will be at the meeting and will have a full report online and on Tuesday’s FOX 11 News at Nine. The news will air on CW14 at 9 p.m. and on FOX 11 after the Major League Baseball All-Star game.

blog comments powered by Disqus