Allouez circulating petition to replace Green Bay Correctional Institution
ALLOUEZ (WLUK) -- The Village of Allouez is circulating a petition, in hopes of having a new prison be part of the next state budget.
“Allouez has $20 million of road improvements it needs to pay for, we're in a rising cost world and no one wants taxes to go up, so we have to find a way to increase our revenues,” said Jim Rafter, Allouez Village President.
The village projects its property values would go up $80 million if it could redevelop the Green Bay Correctional Institution site. Rafter hopes collecting at least 1,000 Brown County resident and 100 business signatures will help sell the idea to lawmakers.
A site for a new prison has not been selected.
“We've heard a lot of support from area residents and businesses and we thought why not document that?” said Rafter.
“They're fighting for it,” said State Rep. David Steffen (R-Howard).
Steffen introduced a bill last year to replace the overcrowded, 120-year-old prison, with a privately built, state-run prison.
Steffen says the three main benefits to the plan are $150 million in state taxpayer savings over 10 years, a safer facility for inmates and workers, and the $80 million economic impact for Allouez.
Green Bay Correctional Institution is in need of $200 million in repairs, according to Steffen.
“The primary, and I think the most reasonable approach, is the governor include it in his 2019 budget,” said Steffen. “It would just make sense.”
Steffen expects to see results this fall of a $600,000 study of all the correctional facilities in the state. He believes it will show Green Bay Correctional has the greatest need for improvements, the same as what a similar study from 2009 showed.
“We have an opportunity here to do some big things, the right things, financially prudent things and now is the time to do it,” said Steffen.
Steffen says Allouez's petition is also coming at the right time, considering state departments will begin working on the next state budget in the next 30 days.
The prison is recognized as a historical landmark. Rafter says parts of the facility, including the front building and wall, could be repurposed, but would not go anywhere.