By Ben Rodgers
ASHWAUBENON – If anything, 2018 was a year where Ashwaubenon continued to grow, but also lost and honored people who made the village a better place.
The top story for the year in Ashwaubenon has been the development of the Titletown District, west of Lambeau Field.
The real estate arm of the Green Bay Packers continued to grow the development open to fans year-round as a place to play, stay, live, eat, relax, enjoy and work.
The biggest news of 2018 from Titletown was the announcement of Phase 2 of the project, which calls for a mixture of residential (townhouses, stacked flats, apartment units) and commercial (office, retail, restaurant, entertainment) buildings, along with surface and podium parking, plaza and green space areas.
“Titletown thus far has exceeded our expectations and we’re excited to add the residential component and office building to the development, and to the region,” said Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy at the October announcement. “We’re looking forward to continuing to create a special place for residents, community members and visitors, and this next step in the development will elevate Titletown to a place many will call home.”
Highlighted by approximately 220 residences and a four-to-five story office building, Phase 2 adds to the live-and-work elements of Titletown’s draw.
The fourth building in Titletown also received village approval in March of 2018, TitletownTech.
TitletownTech will be comprised of three areas: an accelerator, and innovation lab and a venture capital fund.
The building will be complete and offices will open sometime in the first quarter of 2019.
The Green Bay Packers and Titletown also honored a man who paved the way for the Titletown development in Ashwaubenon, former village president and editor and publisher of The Press, Mike Aubinger.
On July 20, a private roadway off of Ridge Road was named Mike Aubinger Way.
Aubinger, who passed away on March 30, 2017, served three terms as village president.
Murphy said Aubginer was humble, always interested in what was best for Ashwaubenon and integral to the creation of the development.
Current Village President Mary Kardoskee echoed those sentiments.
“He grew up here, his roots were here, he was always concerned about Ashwaubenon and how everything affected Ashwaubenon,” Kardoskee said on July 20. “It will now always be Mike Aubinger’s Way.”
On the other side of Lambeau Field, a staple in the Stadium District expanded, but also lost the man behind it all.
Stadium View Sports Bar & Banquet Hall completed a total remodel of the bar area in August.
“It basically is new,” said Bob Watson, Stadium View president in September. “We had everything down to a bare concrete floor and stud walls and we actually had to tear a lot of the concrete up to put in new plumbing and new electrical everything.”
However, Stadium View lost the man who helped start the business back in 1992, Jerry Watson.
Watson, 72, passed away Nov. 21.
Watson and his wife Diane were the first to open a bar/restaurant in what would eventually be called the Stadium District. She passed away in 2011.
“The whole place has changed so much over 25 years,” Watson told The Press Times in 2017. “Twenty-five years from now it won’t look the same as it does today. I couldn’t have had a better 25 years if I wrote the script myself.”
Press Times readers were also excited about two newer businesses in 2018.
Brooke McMillan, owner of Pure Barre was one of the final three finalists for the 2018 Young Entrepreneur of the year award, presented by the Greater Green Bay Chamber.
“We’re all about community here to be honest,” McMillan said in March. “Community and kindness. I feel kindness goes a long way. My girls and staff truly care about people and that makes the business successful.”
Pure Barre offers a musically-driven workout class with instructors and uses isometric movements to sculpt and shape the body.
Readers were also excited to learn about a new store in Ashwaubenon, The Heel Next Door.
The Heel Next Door offers shoppers a chance to find shoes at reduced price in an outlet setting.
“There’s some funky or cool things we wouldn’t carry at the other store with some drastically reduced prices, 50-70 percent off sometimes,” said Troy Dempsey, owner and certified pedorthist in June.
Ashwaubenon readers also liked food in 2019, but nothing more than the news of a Pizza Ranch opening in the village.
The restaurant boasts a pizza and chicken buffet, game room for the kids, and also helps out groups in the community by helping them raise money for their causes.
“These people need things for mission trips and stuff like that,” said Travis Topel, co-general manager in October. “It’s something I believe in.”
Finally, readers learned about Big Top Baseball moving a Northwoods League baseball team next year into the new Capital Credit Union Park from Joannes Stadium, where ball club was known for more than a decade as the Green Bay Bullfrogs, after efforts to build a new facility for the team in the city of Green Bay could not be finalized.
To go along with the move to Ashwaubenon, a naming contest took place in 2018 when the Bullfrogs became known as the Booyah.
Plans for Capital Credit Union Park call for having a capacity of 3,359 for athletic events, room for 7,000-plus for concerts and community events and feature club and suite space for up to 300 guests. An artificial surface is planned for the field.
Capital Credit Union Park is reusing the old CTI Concrete building, a 17,000-square-foot warehouse located on the site prior to the village purchasing the land earlier this year just south of the village hall.
That building is being renovated to include a team store, concessions, restrooms, suites, a club space, locker rooms, team office and a hotel lobby-style ticket office.