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Art on the move

Sculptures planned for Leicht Memorial Park may find new home after city council vote

By John McCracken

At a Sept. 21 city council meeting, the fate of four sculptures headed for Leicht Memorial Park in downtown Green Bay was left at a standstill. John McCracken photo and edit

Four sculptures headed for Leicht Memorial Park in downtown Green Bay are now on the hunt for a new home in the district as opposed to the originally planned installment at the Dousman Street park.

Leicht Memorial Park is located in Tax Incremental District (TID) 5. TID funds have to be spent by 2026, and funds need to be committed at least five years before closure of the TID. The Green Bay Parks Commission took up the issue at a Sept. 15 meeting,
where the issue was met with a standstill 2-2 vote and passed onto the city council.

At a Sept. 21 city council meeting, Green Bay Development Director Neil Stechschulte said TID 5 is projected to bring in $5 million at the time of closure in December 2026. The TID funds can be spent on projects in the area such as park improvements, infrastructure, street repair and other efforts to bolster the district. The budget for the sculpture installment, design and other associated costs is $46,500 out of the $5 million.

“I personally believe that we should hold onto those funds or allocate those funds for some of the larger scale projects, like infrastructure and things like that,” West side alderperson Jesse Brunette said. “$45,000 is a rather large amount, so it’s not that I’m against public art, it’s just that given all the other things to make improvements to that district and that business community, I’d much rather wait until the end of this cycle to consider allocating such a large amount for public art.”

West Green Bay alderperson Chris Wery said he would prefer more understanding of what is going on in that area, such as infrastructure needs, before spending money on public art.

“We did as a council pass a public arts fund,” Wery said, ”and it’s my understanding that this isn’t coming from that fund, this is kind of over and above, which is fine, but I think in the future it should come out of that fund that we’re setting aside.”

East side Green Bay alderperson Barbara Dorff said she supported the placement of the sculptures at the park.

“It would definitely be advantageous to have that art in the park and $45,000 is not a huge significant amount compared to the $5 million,” Dorff said.

Downtown alderperson and On Broadway, Inc. Executive Director Brian Johnson said looking at other locations throughout the district—which he serves— could help disintegrate the problems with giving the sculptures a home at Leicht Memorial Park specifically.

“I think there are other places within TID 5 in particular that maybe have a little bit higher foot traffic,” said Johnson, “where these (sculptures) might have a higher impact rather than trying to cram them all into one place.”

An amended motion passed with two nay votes from Wery and Brunette.

Now, the sculptures will potentially end up at other locations throughout TID 5 as opposed to keeping the sculptures at the park. The sculptures could settle at the park in the future if other locations throughout the district are not suitable. Currently there are four brick pads at Leicht Memorial Park originally planned for the sculptures, but they do not currently serve as a permanent footing for the proposed sculptures.

John McCracken is the Edior of Green Bay City Pages. He can be reached vial email at [email protected] or on Twitter @jmcjmc451.

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