Allouez prison petition surpasses signature goal

    Green Bay Correctional Institution in Allouez. (WLUK/Mark Leland)

    ALLOUEZ (WLUK) -- The Village of Allouez says its residents want the state prison removed to redevelop the land for residential and commercial use.

    Village officials say it has more than 1,000 signatures from Brown County residents and 150 signatures from local businesses in favor of the Green Bay Correctional Institution being relocated.

    Brown County officials announce they have more than 1,000 signatures of those in favor of moving the state prison in Allouez to redevelop the land, August 8, 2018. (WLUK)

    The Green Bay Correctional Institution needs $200 million in repairs if it stays in Allouez.

    State Rep. David Steffen (R-Howard) says the prison is a money pit and loses close to $1 million a month.

    Last year, Steffen introduced a bill to replace the overcrowded, 120-year-old prison, with a privately built, state-run prison at another location in Northeast Wisconsin.

    Steffen says the main benefits to the plan are $150 million in state taxpayer savings over 10 years and a more modern and safer facility for inmates and workers.

    Steffen says it's an incredible opportunity for the village of Allouez, "So right now we have some of the most valuable land in Northeast Wisconsin that is being occupied by a dilapidated, crumbling, 120-year-old state facility. That land, with the renderings and opportunities that have been shown already to the public, can provide up to $80 million worth of economic development opportunities."

    The more than 50-acre proposed space includes townhomes, apartments, community and commercial spaces.

    A rendering of the proposed redevelopment plan of the land currently occupied by the Green Bay Correctional Institution. (WLUK)

    Steffen says the plan respects the history of the space, “The facility on the inside actually has some amazing architecture and much of it is actually protected by the state and national historical registry, but there are ways to enhance and provide access to that to the public.”

    Steffen says after presenting the signatures, he hopes within the next year, the proposal will be incorporated in the next state budget. Steffen estimates it will be about three years for another prison to be built and four years for the land in Allouez to be redeveloped.

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