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Site plan for new visitor center resubmitted, approved

By Kevin Boneske
Staff Writer

ASHWAUBENON – More than a year has passed without construction having commenced since the initial approval, so the Greater Green Bay Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) was required to resubmit its site plan to build a new visitor center.

Community Development Director Aaron Schuette said the resubmitted plan, which the Site Plan Review Committee approved Tuesday, March 17, is identical to the one approved in December 2018 with the CVB leasing land where the new visitor center will be located from Titletown Development LLC, the real estate arm of the Green Bay Packers.

Estimated to cost from $6.5-$7 million, the Experience Greater Green Bay Visitor Center will be located near Interstate 41 and Lombardi Avenue off of Argonne Street.

After the committee first approved the site plan, the CVB planned to start construction in spring 2019 with the visitor center having been scheduled to open in summer 2020.

However, CVB President/CEO Brad Toll said the project didn’t secure enough funds to proceed with around $4 million raised and was consequently delayed.

The project hit a snag in obtaining state funding when a proposed $2 million grant wasn’t included in the biennial state budget Gov. Tony Evers signed last summer.

Subsequent efforts to provide those funds in separate legislation stalled amid partisan politics.

Then legislation calling for a $2 million loan instead of a grant ended the stalemate with the measure having passed last month in the Assembly and awaiting action in the Senate.

The CVB now hopes to break ground this spring and complete the visitor center within a year.

“Hopefully (the CVB gets) approval from the State Senate… for the $2 million loan that they’ve asked for,” Schuette said.

Because Titletown Development owns the land for the visitor center site and where the US Bank Building is located adjacent to the north, he said shared storm water management and off-street parking are able to service both buildings.

Once constructed, the two-story, 12,500-square-foot visitor center would be managed and programmed by the CVB.

Cambria Hotel

Schuette said the visitor center isn’t the only project approved in Ashwaubenon which would have to resubmit a site plan after not having commenced construction within a year.

That’s also the case for the proposed Cambria Hotel, which the village board approved a site plan in February 2019 for a 100-unit, four-story hotel planned on a 1.5-acre lot where an existing concrete building would have to be demolished east of The Bar along Mike McCarthy Way.

Schuette said he was recently contacted by the project developer, indicating the financing was still being worked on.

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