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Green Bay asks stadium district board to help fund 'Shipyard' stadium

GREEN BAY (WLUK) -- Green Bay city officials are asking the Green Bay/Brown County Professional Football Stadium District Board for half a million dollars to help pay for the proposed outdoor events center known as ‘The Shipyard’.

City staff members are hoping next month they could get city council approval to build the $9 million stadium on the edge of the Fox River, next to the Mason Street Bridge.

“We're tapping into all sources now,” said Kevin Vonck, the city’s economic development director. “I think in terms of this is for the city, but it's also for the region.”

The stadium would be programmed 180 days a year: 36 days for Bullfrogs baseball, 90 days for West High School athletics, four to six days for 5,000 to 8,000-person capacity outdoor concerts, and 8 to 16 days for minor league soccer games.

City leaders believe the events will draw tourism to the area, which is part of the stadium district board's criteria when evaluating project contributions.

Through a ticket tax, special events, like a concert at Lambeau Field, generate money for the stadium district's economic development fund. For example, the fund received $900,000 from last year's Badgers-LSU football game.

Pat Webb, the stadium district board’s executive director, says the economic development fund currently has about $1.7 million.

“I really don't see this as any different than helping the Meyer Theatre, the Neville Public Museum, building the scoreboards at the Resch Center,” said Webb. “We participated in all those projects.”

The owners of the Bullfrogs plan to contribute $1 million up front to the stadium project. The team would pay another $3.5 million through a 20-year lease with the city. That leaves the city with paying $5 million, the stadium district board agrees to the city's request for $500,000.

“The ability to bring in a minor league soccer team, to bring in some of those national touring acts for concerts, that really contributes to the economic development and really feel it fits in with what the stadium district is doing,” said Vonck.

The stadium district board is expected to make a decision on the money request at its March meeting.

Mayor Jim Schmitt was in Washington DC last week talking to professional development soccer league officials about locating a team in Green bay to play in the stadium.

An Anduzzi's restaurant, and a 2,000-person capacity indoor concert venue would also be attached to the stadium.

The goal is for it all to be open in spring of 2018.

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