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Expo center planned unit development receives initial backing

By Kevin Boneske
Staff Writer

AHSWAUBENON – A Planned Unit Development to construct a new expo center on the site where the Brown County Veterans Memorial Arena is being torn down received the preliminary backing Tuesday, May 7, from both the village’s Site Plan Review Committee and Plan Commission.

However, concerns were also voiced for amending the PUD in the future, such as having landscaping behind the facility along Lombardi Avenue when it is completed.

As planned, the expo center would have 125,000 square feet of flat space with the front entrance facing Armed Forces Drive and the rear of the building along Lombardi Avenue having garage loading doors with direct access to the expo center.

Village Community Development Director Aaron Schuette said the PUD is intended to provide flexibility in setbacks, signage, landscaping and uses for the expo center and Resch Center complex.

“Once those items are finalized, they will be brought back for a PUD amendment to kind of lock those in place,” he said. “They will come back through site plan review, as well as planning commission and village board.”

Schuette said the plans currently call for including 208 parking stalls on the north side of the expo hall and 99 lots on the north side of the Resch Center, but that could change upon a private developer, such as a hotel, being attracted to locate on the site’s northwest corner.

“There will be some additional parking facing Lombardi, because the old (Packers) Hall of Fame building is going away as well as the arena and Shopko Hall,” Schuette said. “Now, long-term, there’s the potential from some of those stalls to go away, if we are able to attract some sort of private development.”

Much of the Site Plan Review Committee’s discussion about the PUD for the expo center focused on the appearance of the back of the building, such as what could be done for screening or landscaping along Lombardi Avenue.

“I don’t like the back of the building along Lombardi,” said committee member Dan Pamperin. “I think there should be a hell of a lot better screening along Lombardi, and I think that for the Resch Center, too, because they put so much garbage behind those buildings for every event… If I was a neighbor, I’d be p***ed.”

Pat Skalecki of GRAEF, which submitted the expo center PUD, said there is a need for access to the back of the building.

“We have a need for deliveries, we have a need for service personnel, we have a need for fire access in the back, of course,” he said.

Though there is no way to get around having a service area for the building, Skalecki said “we are mindful and we are thinking about ways to mitigate the visuality of that from the traveling public as well as the residents that live on the other side of Lombardi Avenue.”

Schuette said the PUD will be forwarded to the village board for a public hearing at its May 28 meeting.

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