By Kevin Boneske
ASHWAUBENON – The planned construction of an expo center at the current site of the Brown County Veterans Memorial Arena now has a project manager.
The village’s Community Development Authority agreed Monday, Oct. 8, to award a project manager/construction manager professional services contract to Miron Construction.
Village President Mary Kardoskee said Miron was one was four firms interviewed last week by a 10-member panel comprised of representatives of the village, Brown County and PMI Entertainment Group, which unanimously favored Miron’s selection.
The recommendation to award the contract to Miron noted the company provided the lowest cost for the construction management obligations in the request for proposals and has experience with expo and event space, including the Fox Cities Exhibition Center, Kress Events Center and the KI Convention Center expansion.
Kardoskee said Miron’s contract, for which the overall cost isn’t known at this point, will be drawn up by Village Attorney Tony Wachewicz.
She said there is currently around $4.5 million available that the county has committed for the expo center project from the stadium sales tax rebate, which could be used before having to go to bonding.
In June, the village and county finalized an agreement outlining each unit of government’s responsibilities for the design and construction of a new expo center.
That Memorandum of Understanding is similar to what was put together for the construction of the Resch Center, for which the village’s Community Development Authority issued revenue bonds with the county taking on that debt while leasing the space prior to the county owning the facility once the debt is paid in full.
The MOU for the expo center notes the groundbreaking date for the project will be agreed on by both the village and the county with the construction of at least 100,000 square feet of exposition space for an estimated construction cost of up to $93 million.
Along with the stadium tax refund, the agreement includes having the village work with the county to raise a total of $8 million in naming rights with another $15 million coming from the new half-percent county sales tax and the bulk of the funds for the expo center project coming from room tax dollars.
Though a legal challenge has been made to the new county sales tax, Kardoskee has noted the expo center project would be going forward regardless because it isn’t dependent upon whether the new tax remains in place to raise $15 million from it.
According to the project description contained in the MOU, the project includes the design and construction of the expo center, the demolition of the Brown County Arena and the former Packer Hall of Fame, the full or partial demolition/integration of Shopko Hall and the preservation of the existing Veterans Memorial, as well as any development that may occur on the site.
Kardoskee said she and the county executive will be receiving input from others as to how to proceed with the expo center project.
She said five firms will be interviewed for the project’s architect and engineer, while the Community Development Authority is meeting Oct. 18 to award that contract.