County board approves Eagle’s Nest property purchase
By Heather Graves
BROWN COUNTY – The Brown County Board of Supervisors approved the purchase of the old Eagle’s Nest property at its meeting Aug. 19 with a 22-3 vote.
The resolution authorizes the purchase of 4.54 acres of land on Nicolet Drive in Green Bay to be used in the future as a new boat launch on the Bay of Green Bay.
The project will also help the county address a long-standing flooding issue which has been affecting the area for years.
The purchase price is $1.05 million, with $195,500 coming from the county public works department, $249,000 from a grant from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and $605,500 from a grant from the Fox River/Greater Green Bay Natural Resources Trustee Council.
The board made the decision fairly quickly after hearing from the public for nearly two hours.
Supporters of the project said the boat launch is needed to provide county residents more access to the water.
“We need that landing,” said Green Bay resident Roger Hanson. “In the future, there probably won’t be an opportunity for one.”
Supporters encouraged supervisors to scoop up the bay property, which is the last of its kind.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance for us to get this property,” said Hobart resident Jim Klein. “This boat landing would be the best suited use for this (property). Let’s leave a legacy, let’s vote for this tonight.”
But not everyone was in favor of the plan.
Some neighbors said there isn’t a need for an additional launch, and the project will cost the taxpayers in the long run.
“We understand the county has performed no due diligence as to the cost of this project, except for the purchase of the land,” said Joe Morgan, president of the Nicolet Drive Neighborhood Association. “Where will the money come from and what is the total cost of the project? Now more than ever what the county needs is more tax revenue, not the loss of tax revenue.”
More than 250 residents living near the property signed a petition opposing the purchase.
“I live next door, and I have a sense most of the people here representing groups don’t really care about that because they get to come and they get to go, they don’t have to put up with the noise,” said neighbor Lisa Kosmoski. “I ask you to try and sit in my shoes. When you realize there are not many motorized boat launches typically put into neighborhoods, how would you feel living right next door to this?”
District 9 Supervisor Pat Evans said he can’t justify the property purchase at this time.
“We all represent Brown County, but we all start with our individual districts,” he said. “I represent District 9, the northwest side of Green Bay. Right now Brown County is in a state of emergency. I can’t justify to the people in my district to go and purchase and build a boat launch. I feel like it is poor timing.”
Supervisors Pat Evans, Jim Murphy and Richard Schadewald voted “no.” Supervisor Joan Brusky was excused.
Supervisors in favor of the project, however, said they feel now is the best time for this purchase.
“The Bay of Green Bay and Lake Michigan are a national treasure,” said Supervisor Cassandra Erickson. “The Trump administration has awarded Brown County with the grant funds for this value community investment that will not only be used for much needed safe harbor, recreation and flooding mitigation, but important shore restoration that would cost the county far more without federal and state help.”
The board also voted to increase the fees for usage of county boat launches.
An annual pass will now cost $60 ($50 for seniors), $6 for a daily pass and $75 for a commercial pass.
This is the first time the county has increased the fee scale since 2017.
The increase follows suit with increases in Green Bay and De Pere.