Green Bay History Unearthed

Published 07/30 2014 06:07AM

Updated 07/30 2014 08:45AM

GREEN BAY, Wisc. (WFRV) Some are questioning the development of a prime piece of downtown Green Bay real estate, after learning of its historic significance. 

It all centers around the Larsen Green property, located along Broadway. It's the same location where Walmart wanted to build a supercenter.
"Chances are there are probably burial sites. There could be a cemetery there. There could be remains," Green Bay Alderman Mark Steuer told Local 5's Wendy Fleury. 

At least 7 nations have lived in the area of the property. 

An archeological survey was done back in 2007. It showed Fort Howard was located on the exact location as Larsen Green. 

A dig performed in 2008 revealed remnants of historical significance. 

The current owners of the property, On Broadway Inc., have a Memo of Understanding with the City of Green Bay about any development to the area. The agreement states that if anything is discovered that could be artifact, an archeological specialist must be called in to document and catalog the item and preserve it as needed.

"In terms of digging and finding some things, that's a game changer and we'd really have to be sensitive to that," Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt said.

Because the property faces probable foreclosure, the City of Green Bay would take ownership and thus become responsible.

Members of Green Bay's Historic Preservation Commission have learned about the historic significance of the area. They want more information before any developers come in.

"Here we're looking at some mixed use development, but also some green space and I'm thinking we could incorporate that into the development," Steuer, who sits on the Commission, said. "So if it's a historic park, marker, something that could be shown, I would like to see that incorporated into the development of whatever comes forward."

"No matter where the development is, any 46 square miles of our city, if we start uncovering burial sites or anything of historical significance, we'll put a stop on it until we figure out what it is and how to best work with it," Mayor Schmitt added.

The Historic Preservation Committee plans on having experts at their next meeting, August 11th. After hearing from the experts, the Committee will decide on how to proceed.

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