Green Bay is one step closer to its own Historic Downtown District

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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - A major portion of downtown Green Bay could soon be known as its own historic district if city council accepts the Historic Preservation Commissions advice Monday night.

Green Bay is no stranger to historic buildings, many already on the National Register of Historic Places include the Brown County Courthouse, Hotel Northland and the Meyer Theatre.

But what Green Bay doesn’t have just yet is a Historic Preservation Ordinance on the books.

“We are looking to get Certified Local Government status which opens up the door for tax credits and other amenities dealing with history and economic development,” said Mark Steuer, chairman of Green Bay’s Historic Preservation Commission. “Allouez and De Pere do have mandatory ordinances and we are looking at that in Green Bay.

Within the ordinance, the commission would like to create a Downtown Historical District. Steuer said the 38 buildings within the designated district would be eligible for historic tax credits, meaning it would get financial help for approved renovations.

“What it does is it enhances the rest of the district,” said Steuer. “We have cornerstones like the Northland, the Bellin Building and the Schauer and Schumacher building, which we are hoping to restore…it needs help so with this designation, we might be able to garner more support financially.”

“It's kind of like, if you have crown jewels and you want to put them in a crown, you wouldn't want to put them in a rotten crown,” said Dave Boyce, a member of Green Bay’s Historic Preservation Commission. “What I mean is that the surrounding area of a historic building or cluster of buildings shouldn't be shabby.”

Although not located within the proposed downtown historical district, Whitney School and Divine Temple of God would also be included in the historic designation by the city.

The Historic Preservation Commission approved the ordinance on Monday, it now heads to Green Bay City Council for final approval.