Village board backs master plan for fairgrounds
By Kevin Boneske
ASHWAUBENON – A master plan related to future use and development of the Brown County Fairgrounds was backed Tuesday, Nov. 27, by the Ashwaubenon village board.
Rex Mehlberg, Ashwaubenon parks, recreation and forestry director, said the county has sought to have the plan approved by the neighboring municipalities that may be affected, namely Ashwaubenon and De Pere.
“There has been a Brown County committee that has been working on a master plan to redo the Brown County Fairgrounds…,” Mehlberg said. “There’s a teardown involved in several of the fairground buildings. New buildings are planned to be built, as funds become available, along Broadway, along with a brand new center aisle, midway area actually.”
In addition to increasing the parking area along the south portions of the fairgrounds along Broadway, Mehlberg said overnight camping areas would be moved to the north, close to the Fox River as a revenue source.
Mehlberg made reference to a preferred concept drawing by the Rettler Corporation, which was contracted by the county to produce a market feasibility study of the fairgrounds.
The preferred concept for the master plan includes having 586 parking stalls, as well as 84 camp sites with 22 of those dedicated as such and 62 for overflow use.
That plan also calls for a 100,000-sqaure-foot vendor area, 45,000 square feet combined in two open-air buildings and a 40,000-square-foot multi-purpose building.
Mehlberg noted he was asked to be Ashwaubenon’s representative on the fairgrounds committee.
He said the point of having someone from the village on the committee is the connectivity between several different area attractions, such as with Ashwaubomay Park being immediately to the north.
“As such, there’s a lot of discussion on trail systems, trying to expand that trail system along the Fox River, going into the fairground area from Ashwaubomay (Park),” he said.
Mehlberg also pointed out the village’s parks and recreation board looked at the master plan and recommended approval.
He said a trail is still being planned along the riverfront, and the village would still allow permission for overflow parking at Ashwaubomay Park for large events at the fairgrounds, such as the annual Brown County Fair or larger festivals.
Village President Mary Kardoskee said biggest thing she wanted to see with the master plan is the trail connectivity.
“That’s really all we kind of have control over, anyway,” she said.
Mehlberg said the county sought the village’s approval of the master plan concept for the fairgrounds to bring it forward to its governing body for potential funding in the near future.
“The relationship between Brown County and Ashwaubenon, as it relates to the plan, really would be the connectivity of the trail along the waterfront,” he said.