Alderman Chris Wery believes his survey shows support for Walmart

By Kris Schuller |

Published 05/06 2014 09:11PM

Updated 05/06 2014 10:56PM

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) Walmart is continuing its push to place a store in downtown Green Bay.

An initial proposal was rejected by the city council back in March. Last week, the big box store chain began showing new store proposal to Green Bay city leaders.

They say the store's exterior has been re-designed to better fit in with the Broadway District - yet the store would still be a large one, with 150,000 square feet of space.

Mayor Jim Schmitt says a store that size is not going to happen. However, a city of Green Bay council member who recently conducted an informal survey - says there is plenty of support for a Walmart on Broadway.

 Newly-elected Alderman Chris Wery made it a point during his recent campaign, to ask people's opinions on the Walmart issue. This document contains some of the comments he received.

In Chris Wery's hands, 14 pages of comments from taxpayers who he says want a Walmart built downtown.

"Right now I'm sitting a little over 70 percent in favor of them being here," said Alderman Wery.

Wery got the comments because he asked voters in his district what they thought. Handing out 3,500 campaign brochures and sending out numerous emails the past few months.

One-hundred -fifty people responded  - the majority according to Wery -  saying Walmart would provide much to this underserved downtown neighborhood: welcoming the company's second attempt at finding support.

"They see instant tax base, jobs, groceries for this neighborhood for the workers down here," Wery said.

Though outside of Wery's district, Sharon Millar lives just blocks from Larsen Green. She wants a store built.

"Oh my gosh yes - we need it desperately," said Millar. "We have nothing down here."

So too resident Paul Jacob.

"I think it's needed in this area," said the downtown dweller. "Once it is here I think people would see the fears are invalid and I think it would support the area businesses."

But other council members aren't so sure. Jerry Wizbiskie voted to change the land-use designation for Larsen Green this spring, thus preventing construction of a one-story supercenter. He's not about to change his mind.

"I'm appalled they are coming back," said Wizbiskie. "Is it because we have four new alder people?  I have a hard time with that - a very, very, hard time."

"What do I think the future holds for this?" Wery said. "I think we'll have a spirited debate - it will be a close call either way - but it will be approved."

Walmart has yet to submit a formal proposal, in this their second attempt at winning city approval to build within the Broadway District.

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