ASHWAUBENON - Earlier this year, the Green Bay Packers bulldozed 12 homes to the south of Lambeau Field to make room for more parking. Now the Packers are getting the grass lot ready for the upcoming season.
The lot is being turned into 800 parking spaces. The Packers plan to use the area to park staff, media and even some fans who have season parking passes.
Although some of his neighbors are gone, David Demelle of Ashwaubenon doesn't mind the new view from his house, just south of the new lot.
"You feel like it's a little more commercialized now than residential," said David Demelle. "I don't find the parking lot an eyesore. It gives us a better view of the stadium."
He thinks there will still be plenty of people looking to pay to park on lawns offered by nearby homeowners.
"When you look at it, they're parked blocks and blocks down," he said. "They're parked all the way up to Cabela's. There's ample room for them to park here, even with the parking lot there. I think they'll fill up here."
The team says some spaces should be ready for Packers Family Night on August 2. Other parts may take longer, depending on how fast the grass grows.
The Packers believe the grass will hold up for a long time, because plenty of rocks were laid down when it was planted.
Looking to the future, Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy insists the area won't be used for a large parking structure. But when talking to the media after Thursday's team shareholders meeting, he wouldn't be specific about other plans.
"It does give us flexibility down the road for any future uses potentially for either stadium or football related," said Murphy.
Another area the Packers continue to explore is the K-Mart property to the west of Lambeau. The team has owned the land for seven years.
The K-Mart store closed Sunday with the store cleanup set to finish next week.
"We're definitely going to have additional parking around that area," said Murphy. "We're looking at the possibility of knocking the building down and using it for parking. Just a couple things we need to work through on that."
The team says the K-Mart lot will operate on game days this season just like it did last year. That's good news for the area's drug-fighting DARE program which for years has used game day parking revenue as its biggest fundraiser.
Also Thursday, Murphy said the Packers are discussing having Brett Favre at Lambeau for a game this season.
However, he said it won't be a jersey retirement ceremony. In all likelihood that will be next season. Murphy believes Favre will be "fully supported" by Packers fans.
Murphy also said he anticipates the team will play a game in London in the coming years, but the Packers would not be willing to give up a home game.
One possibility for the London game is 2016 when the Packers are scheduled to play at Jacksonville. Jacksonville, which has had substantial home attendance problems in recent years, has agreed to play a game in London that year.