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Green Bay State Rep. pins KI Convention Center support against Wal-Mart

Mayor Jim Schmitt baffled by Klenke's letter

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV)-- The debate over building a Wal-Mart in Green Bay has expanded to the state level and Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt isn’t pleased.

“We know what we’re doing in Green Bay,” said Schmitt.

Rep.  John Klenke, R-Green Bay, drafted a letter to the Building Commission, last week, asking them to reconsider giving Green Bay $2 million to expand the KI Convention Center.  The reason—because the city isn’t supporting plans to build a Wal-Mart on Broadway.

 “It’s not about Wal-Mart.  This is about what’s good for the community and we’ve got a brown field that needs to be developed and we’ve got someone who is willing to put the money in front to do that,” said Klenke.

Klenke wants to see the super store built on Broadway because he says that’s an area that desperately needs more business.  But the Mayor would like to see it built elsewhere.

Schmitt said, “We’re still hopeful that Wal-mart looks on some properties on Velp Avenue.  It serves the same market and they can build their super store there.”

 “What I’m hearing him say is if you don’t go where I say on Velp, I’m willing to take nothing and I think that’s poor leadership,” said Klenke.

Gov. Scott Walker has already approved the $2 million grant to the KI Center.

As  far as where to go from here—Schmitt says he hopes both parties can resolve the problem.

 “I wish he would have stopped over or called me.  But it’s out there right now and we’ll deal with it,” he said.

Klenke has admitted to accepting campaign donations from the Walton family but told Local 5 that is not what’s influencing his decision. 

He said this is about job creation.

The two plan to meet Friday.

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