Green Bay prison petition surpasses goal

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ALLOUEZ, Wis. (WBAY) - Plans move forward with a proposal to close the Green Bay Correctional Institution and build a new development on the riverfront property in Allouez.

Weeks ago, lawmakers and village leaders came up with a plan to get one thousand signatures and at least one hundred businesses to support the proposal before October, but say they've already surpassed their goals.

Representative David Steffen calls GBCI a “money pit.”

"A million dollars a month over the next ten years is what we're going to be spending on that facility over the cost of a new facility because of long-term deferred maintenance, crumbling building and an operation structure that is non-modern,” said Rep. Steffen.

But if the prison is closed, the prime property could become a money maker. Action 2 News has reported the Village of Allouez “vision” board for the same space.

It’s nothing concrete, according to Village of Allouez President Jim Rafter, but could include, “a hotel or restaurants or markets- there are all kinds of things- office buildings, pop up office buildings. Smack dab in the middle, people want a distillery; distillery/craft brewery/winery. I've heard that many times."

On the property is a historical site that has to stay regardless of what happens to the prison, but officials today insist incorporating that into the new plans would be no problem.

"That, to me, is actually a benefit if done right and with the appropriate marketing aspects,” said Troy Streckenbach, Brown County Executive.

The big question is: where would the new prison go?

“A few counties in or around Brown County have shown some interest in the possibility that specifically just saw a recent downtown in their economy and a large employer leave,” said Streckenbach.

However, where the new prison would be located is ultimately the state's decision, not Brown County's.