Military Avenue District officials see store vacancies as future opportunities for the area

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GREEN BAY, Wis. Green Bay's 'Market on Military' kicked off their first farmers market of the summer season on Thursday. The market is held every Thursday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Green Bay Plaza.

Leah Weycker, says the original Green Bay farmers market was always held at the Green Bay Plaza on the corner Mason Street and Military Avenue. It’s been brought back to attract foot traffic into the Military Avenue Business District.

“We're just an easy in-and-out market and it brings people to this district and helps the neighborhood have local markets," said Leah Weycker, Executive Director of Military Avenue Business District.

The weekly event sits on the parking lot of what was once Sears, the Green Bay Plaza also lost Office Depot, and Shopko on Military Avenue. City officials see the vacancies in the district as opportunities.

"You know obviously what we've seen here in the city is a reflection of what's going on across the country in terms of retail changing, you know making it very difficult for those middle of the road big box retailers to survive,” said Kevin Vonck, Green Bay Economic Development Director. “So with that we've had some closures, some changes, and I think we've seen in the past we've been able to repurpose some of those.”

"We're still a really affordable district and we're butting right up against a much more expensive district with Titletown and the Packers over there, so I think there's some great opportunities," said Weycker.

To connect the districts together, Military Avenue officials put a sign on the corner of Military and Lombardi Avenue. The Military Avenue Business District Organization hopes the sign will give visitors an opportunity to take a turn onto Military to check out what the district has to offer.

"If you look for Military at Lombardi, you just see some houses and maybe you don't realize that there is this whole corridor filled with opportunity," said Vonck.

Titletown also holds its night market on Thursdays, giving people an opportunity to visit both markets on the same night. Weycker hopes to make the Military Avenue Business District pedestrian friendly as development in the corridor progresses.

"We're adding art and we'd also like to repeat what that sign has and add benches that are similar in design to the bus stops on Military Avenue, to just make the corridor more friendly for pedestrians."