By Kevin Boneske
ASHWAUBENON – After two unsuccessful attempts, the Green Bay Packers didn’t strike out on approval to screen the view of practices along the north side of Clarke Hinkle Field to prevent people from spying from the Resch Expo’s second floor.
The Ashwaubenon village board voted unanimously Tuesday, Sept. 22, to approve a resubmitted site plan from the local professional football team, which provided renderings for how the poles used to raise and lower the screening would look.
The Packers’ screening system will be raised and lowered along 33-foot high poles approximately 30 feet apart, along Armed Forces Drive from the Don Hutson Center to past the existing scoreboard.
The board’s approval includes the condition the screening is to be lowered when practice is not in session.
Board members at their July 28 meeting were evenly split on the screening plan, when some expressed concerns about the appearance of the poles.
Village President Mary Kardoskee said “I don’t think you can really tell the difference between the poles and the light poles that are there,” in the latest renderings provided by the Packers.
Trustee Chris Zirbel said the latest renderings “make way more sense.”
“I don’t have an issue with this,” he said.
Trustee Gary Paul said “the more we put on those poles, the worse they’re going to hang out.”
“I think keeping the poles as simple as possible is the best way to… hiding is not the right word, but just to make them not as noticeable,” he said.
Paul said the “NFL has got a problem with sneaky people, and I can understand the Packers’ situation.”
“If you’ve got to fence it, I don’t mind it,” he said. “But I don’t want to see them fences up no more than what I see a football player on that field.”
Packers spokesman Aaron Popkey said he is pleased the board approved the screening plan for the Clarke Hinkle practice field.
“We’ve been working with the designers and the project managers, so now that we’ve got the go-ahead, the next steps will be to engage with the village on the permitting process to get the approval for the project to move forward,” he said. “I suspect we’ll be doing that in the next week or so and develop a timeline and get it in place. We certainly need it by next season when the Resch Expo will be open.”
Popkey said he expects work on the screening project will start “relatively soon.”
The screening on poles was the second proposal presented by the Packers to shield practices from view.
The team’s initial idea presented in May called for building a 14-foot high accessory structure above the existing chain-link fence to have a total of 22 feet in height along the north side.
However, members of the Site Plan Review Committee and Plan Commission objected to how a permanent wall would look and how it could spoil how a new expo center would look in the area.
The Packers decided to pull plans for the permanent wall after the two bodies recommended its denial to the village board.