Project contributors include $1.5 million from Oneida Nation
By Press Staff
ASHWAUBENON – After obtaining the backing of several local businesses and other contributors, the Greater Green Bay Convention & Visitors Bureau unveiled plans Thursday, Sept. 13, to construct a new visitor center that it says will serve as “the front door of our community.”
The $6.5 million facility, to be named the Experience Greater Green Bay Visitor Center, will be located near Interstate 41 and Lombardi Avenue off of Argonne Street behind the new US Bank in Ashwaubenon.
Construction is planned to start next spring with the visitor center scheduled to open in the summer of 2020.
“We have a golden opportunity in front of us,” said Brad Toll, president and CEO of the CVB. “There is momentum to boost tourism in a region that is widely visited, and at the same time, we can open the front door of Greater Green Bay to attract talent to our forward-thinking community.”
Toll said fundraising for the Experience Greater Green Bay Visitor Center is being facilitated by Experience Greater Green Bay, a 501(c)3 partner of the Greater Green Bay CVB, to which contributions for the project will be tax deductible.
The two-story, 12,500 square-foot visitor center will be managed and programmed by the CVB, which will move its offices there after operating out of Brown County Memorial Complex since the organization was founded in 1969.
“The CVB must move after the decision was made last year to replace the aging Brown County Arena with an expo center,” Toll said. “We have been working on this for more than two years. The plan is to create a stand-alone, wow-factor environment that will make a positive impact on visitors so that when they are in our area they stay longer, spend visitor dollars and spend them in more places, come back often and consider moving here.”
To date, Toll said Experience Greater Green Bay has pledge commitments of $3.5 million, including the largest contribution of $1.5 million from the Oneida Nation.
“We fully support the addition of the Experience Greater Green Bay Visitor Center and look forward to partnering with the Greater Green Bay Convention & Visitors Bureau on this showpiece for our culturally diverse and enriching region,” said Oneida Nation of Wisconsin Chairman Tehassi Hill.
In consideration of the contribution, Hill said the Oneida Nation will have the opportunity to participate in the displays that will be in the visitor center.
“We’ll probably have people from our joint marketing team in the museum put together display packages of all the different things that go on, like the Oneida Pow Wow…,” Hill said.
Hill joined Toll and other stakeholders for the public unveiling of the Experience Greater Green Bay Visitor Center Campaign at the Brown County Veterans Memorial Arena, the current home of the Greater Green Bay Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Karmen Lemke of the Wisconsin Public Service Foundation, which has pledged $100,000 toward the new visitor center, also spoke during the project unveiling.
Others organizations that already pledged their support to the visitor center campaign include Schreiber Foods Inc., Festival Foods, Nicolet Bank, H.J. Martin and Son Inc., Miron Construction, NEW Building Trades Council, UA Local 400, Pomp’s Tire Service Inc., Camera Corner Connecting Point, Belmark and Amerhart.
Toll noted the visitor center will feature community spaces and an atrium with interactive displays that highlight attractions in the Green Bay area, the history and traditions of the community and its industries, along with the center having an outdoor plaza and garden.
He said the atrium will be a prime spot for local organizations to engage guests through high-tech, high-touch experiences on how they have advanced industries such as dairy, paper, manufacturing, education, technology, transportation, water recreation and health care.
The planned new visitor center, which will be located just west of Lambeau Field, has also received the backing of the Green Bay Packers organization.
“We support the CVB’s vision to create a stand-alone, outstanding visitor center, just west of Titletown and Lambeau Field,” said Mark Murphy, president and CEO of the Green Bay Packers. “The CVB’s vision is in line with ours, which is to share the rich history, opportunity and enjoyment of this area with as many people as we can. Together, we’re helping the world see what a wonderful place Greater Green Bay is to live, work and play.”