Study reveals potential economic impact of repurposing Green Bay Correctional Institution

Economic Impact Study from St. Norbert College. (WLUK/Amber Luckett)

ALLOUEZ (WLUK) -- Findings from a two month long study were presented to officials from Brown County and Wisconsin lawmakers on Tuesday. The study conducted by St. Norbert College and focused on the potential economic impact re-purposing the Green Bay Correctional Institution could have on the area.

State Representative David Steffen (R-Wisconsin) has been one of the people pushing for the relocation of the prison, in hopes of redeveloping the area.

"Twenty-five months ago I met the Village of Allouez president and there was a discussion of what can we do to relocate the prison and provide some economic development opportunity for this community and for Brown County," said Steffen.

The plan is to turn the 64 acres of land into commercial property, retail space, parks and recreational space, as well as luxury housing. Jim Rafter, the president for the Village of Allouez, said many residents and business owners in the area have expressed excitement and approval for the plan and signed an online petition to show their support.

"People love the idea of this development. They're asking for coffee shops, and good commercial property so you can get from the airport to work and this development embodies everything," explained Rafter.

The findings from the study suggest more than 1,400 jobs would be created and around $138.5 million would be put into Brown County annually.

The college's study says between $1.1 million and $1.4 million in new tax revenue could come to local government and public entities. Revenue from sales tax is expected to increase by nearly $3 million.

"We used the size and scope of the plan to build estimates based on comparable existing restaurants, retail space, housing. Using that we made an estimate of how much money this would generate, how many people it would employ,and how much it would generate in economic activity," said Mark Schaffer.

Schaffer is a professor at St. Norbert College. "We also worked on getting an estimate of property value and how much the property could be worth for tax purposes. We found high end estimates of $70 million and other plans as high as $100 million."

Before any decisions are made about the prison, Governor Walker must approve the village's plan to redevelop this area. The the next step is to present these findings to him within the next two weeks.

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