GREEN BAY (WLUK) --Last week, Governor Tony Evers presented a multi-million dollar state grant to redevelop facilities at the former Pulliam Power Plant, located near the mouth of the Fox River.
The redevelopment would be the new home to the coal piles currently located downtown, just south of Mason Street.
Redeveloping the former Pulliam power plant property also means expanding the port.
“Overall the goal of the port is to generate more economic activity, create more jobs using that waterway," Brown County Port and Resource Recovery Department Director Dean Haen said.
Haen says the county is working to hire an engineering consulting firm to design the site.
"And that’ll get us prepared to be able to bid it out, and give us a cost estimate so we’ll know if we have enough or if we’re short. And we’re likely still short of what we believe it will cost to fully improve that site into a state of the art port facility but we are pursuing other federal grant opportunities to try to assemble the dollars necessary to build out that site," Haen said.
"You know once you get that port built out and ready to accept new deliveries, new coal would be delivered there. And then we would spend down the pile that currently exists on the downtown riverfront," City of Green Bay District 9 alder Brian Johnson said.
FOX 11 asked Haen, "How exciting is this for you to be able to have the opportunity to expand? Obviously like you said it creates more jobs, more opportunities for people?"
Haen said, “We’ve described it as a once in a lifetime opportunity. To have 40 acres on the water, it just doesn’t happen very often right?"
Haen says the waterway is underutilized.
"That water is there, it’s basically free infrastructure to float your vessel," Haen said.
Haen also says expanding the port offers a more environmentally friendly option for transporting goods, as opposed to trains and trucks.
“I mean a ship can move 150 rail cars or 1700 trucks worth of material. So when you put those types of materials on the water, that’s a better quality of life and living,"Haen said.
Green Bay alder Brian Johnson says Green Bay is an industrial city.
"And now, of course, things have started to shift and change. And so our community has to reflect that. And so when we take a look at industrial site uses, particularly on the riverfront, near downtown, there are higher and better uses. And that's ultimately what we're trying to achieve," Johnson said.
Johnson wants to remind residents that this project is a process, and leaders still need to identify the best uses for the existing site where the coal piles are located now.