Green Bay Bullfrogs moving to Ashwaubenon
GREEN BAY (WLUK) -- A new stadium is coming to Ashwaubenon and the Green Bay Bullfrogs are moving in.
Ashwaubenon officials confirm the Bullfrogs signed a deal with the village on Wednesday to build a stadium, office and team store on a six-acre property at 2231 and 2205 Holmgren Way, south of Village Hall.
The team will still go by the Green Bay Bullfrogs, but the plan is to move into the $10 million new stadium for the team’s 2019 season.
The Bullfrogs had been considering a new stadium in downtown Green Bay, on the west shore of the Fox River, as part of a new district called The Shipyard.
The Ashwaubenon stadium will be on Holmgren Way, next to Ashwaubenon Village Hall, which is several blocks north of Bay Park Square Mall.
“Working with the Village of Ashwaubenon, we've been able to deliver the certainty we've been looking for, that has been our goal for four years,” said Vern Stenman, the president of Big Top Baseball, which owns the Bullfrogs.
The stadium will be paid for through a 20-year lease agreement with Big Top Baseball and tax revenue generated from new development in the area.
It's a deal Ashwaubenon leaders say the Bullfrogs approached them about.
“I'd say our real negotiations took less than 30 days,” said Allison Swanson, the village manager for Ashwaubenon. “They obviously had something outlined with the city in terms of where they need to be and we really just stepped in trying to provide some certainty to it.”
Swanson says she expects the village board to approve the new stadium deal at its meeting on February 27th.
The village is purchasing the six-acre property, where an existing old warehouse building will likely be demolished, and the stadium will be built.
The stadium will seat 2,500 people and have capacity for 4,000 people. Besides the Bullfrogs, it will host summer collegiate soccer, concerts and other community events.
“We see it obviously as the home of the Bullfrogs, but the destination for all kinds of different events,” said Stenman.
That is the same vision the Bullfrogs and the City of Green Bay had for the proposed Shipyard District. The stadium was supposed to bring in an Anduzzi's restaurant, a concert hall, Breakthrough Fuel's world headquarters, new housing, and improvements to the existing neighborhood.
“This hurts,” said Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt. “That property has been in need of development for the past 40 years...we thought we really had a catalyst to transform that neighborhood. That is gone, so we're still committed to waterfront development, we're still committed to that neighborhood. We just need to find new players to participate with us.”
Schmitt blames the city council for the Bullfrogs move to Ashwaubenon. However, the council did pass every Shipyard proposal that it voted on.
The stadium deal in Green Bay was contingent on the Anduzzi's restaurant, and the concert hall from Festival Foods President and CEO Mark Skogen.
Neither has committed to the Shipyard plan, leaving the stadium in doubt.
Skogen says he has no thoughts on how the Bullfrogs’ move will impact his project. He says he is focused on cost and drawings.