Shipyard Project stays afloat

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) -- After years of failed attempts to break ground, the Shipyard Project is one step closer to a green light.

The City of Green Bay has owned the land in the Broadway District, near the Mason Street Bridge, for nearly 30 years. Known as the Shipyard Project, it just hasn’t been able to find its footing.

But Tuesday, Green Bay’s Redevelopment Authority passed an updated proposal for the area.

Under the new proposal, the $10 million project would include a synthetic playing field, “Container Park” for retail or restaurants, and a splash pad and urban beach along the waterfront.

But the road to this new plan hasn’t always been easy.

In February 2017, the Green Bay Bullfrogs announced the team was moving to Ashwaubenon, leaving only uncertainty for the future of the Shipyard.

“This is devastating. This is … I mean, this hurts,” Mayor Jim Schmitt told Action 2 News back in February.

Four months later, Mayor Schmitt has changed his tune.

“We did not like getting jolted at the alter by the Bullfrogs, but we're okay with that now,” he says. “Really. I think, we talk about that around this place. It's like, 'Maybe that was a blessing in disguise.'”

Mayor Schmitt believes a change in Green Bay City Council staff has helped move the project along.

“I think it had a lot to do with the alderman in that district,” Mayor Schmitt says. “I just don't think he wanted that district to grow for some odd reason. Now we have a new alderman, who wants to do this.”

“Honestly, I'm not interested in dragging out a project for asking questions,” says District 9 Alderman Brian Johnson. “This... Questions have been asked for two years, three years, four years. It's now time to act.”

Alder. Johnson, whose district covers the Shipyard Project, says his only concern for the new proposal is not being able to draw in the same, large crowds the Bullfrogs would have brought.

“I think the thing that the Bullfrogs offered was a management contract,” Alder. Johnson says. “They were going to come in and manage the facility for the city, they were going to offer a payment to do so, but unfortunately that deal's been lost. So we have to come up with a new option.”

City leaders say other local teams have already approached them about using the field to play. The Green Bay Area Public School District is on board with the plan too – as West High School will likely use the field as their home turf.

Green Bay City Council is set to vote on the Shipyard Project proposal next Tuesday.