Council vote blocks Walmart proposal

Council to vote on Walmart issue tonight
Council to vote on Walmart issue tonight

GREEN BAY - Green Bay's city council has put the brakes on a proposed Walmart store for the city's downtown.

In front of a standing room only crowd, the council voted unanimously to plan for mixed use development at the Broadway property Walmart wants to build on.

“I wasn't expecting a unanimous vote, I was delighted with that,” said Jim Schmitt, Green Bay’s mayor. “I just think that the council really understands that the Broadway district is part of a bigger picture and that's a very healthy, vibrant, unique downtown.”

About 50 people spoke in front of the city council, both in favor and against the Walmart plan.

“I want mixed use, I want something that's going to fit within what we already have,” said Lisa Hansen of Green Bay.

“Right now it's a wasteland,” said Paul Swick of Green Bay. “I live around the corner, I see it every day.”

The council's vote classifies the property's future use as 'downtown.' That downtown designation calls for mixed use development, and does not fit Walmart's Supercenter proposal.

“Walmart's really going to have to consider what the comments were and the feedback and look at what their options are and then really kind of play out what happens next is going to be based off what their actions are,” said Christopher Naumann, the executive director of On Broadway, Inc.

Walmart says it wants to continue to work with the council on possibly building a store downtown. However, in three different questions asking if the retailer will change its proposal, a Walmart spokesperson remained committed to the Supercenter plan.

“Right now it's 150,000 square feet and it's a one story building,” said Lisa Nelson, a spokesperson for Walmart.

While Walmart wouldn't say if it will come up with a smaller proposal, council members said they would be open to working with the retailer on one.