APPLETON, Wis. (WFRV) – A controversial plan to move the Trout Museum of Art to Ellen Kort Peace Park will move to the next step in its process.

In an eight to seven vote at a special session Wednesday night, the Appleton common council decided to continue in the process of deciding whether to relocate the Trout Museum of Art. The plan moves to its fourth phase which involves traffic and environmental analysis.

The common council has the ability to kill the plan at any of its phases.

During the meeting on Wednesday night, an alderwoman had made a motion to delay a decision on whether to move the relocation plan to the next step to a later meeting date. That motion failed.

Museum officials said that the museum has outgrown its downtown Appleton location and there’s no space for it to expand. They want to build a one-story, 30,000-square-foot museum in Ellen Kort Park.

Proponents of the plan say having the museum in a park will help enhance museum programming by connecting artists to nature. They also said a larger museum will attract more people to the community.

However, some community members vehemently oppose the plan, saying they don’t want to lose the park’s green space and that bringing the museum in will take away from the park’s original purpose which was to honor the legacy of Ellen Kort.

Former Wisconsin governor Tommy Thompson named Kort Wisconsin’s first poet laureate in 2000. Previous Appleton common councils had rejected plans to develop in this park.

“You don’t have to wreck a beautiful memorial to show that you are supportive of the arts,” said Appleton resident Elisa DeGroot. “There are other options, please end this.”

Over 20 people spoke in the public comment section of the special meeting on Wednesday night. The majority of speakers were against relocating the art museum to Ellen Kort Peace Park, but a few were in favor of it.

“It honors the park and the space and the beauty of nature,” said Cristian Andersson who is on the museum’s board. “It opens it up for us artists to create space together.”

“Creating this type of partnership is a signal that we are a community that is committed to supporting workers,” said John Brogan who is also on the museum’s board.

On Wednesday night, museum executives and architects presented site plans for what the museum would look like if the project gets the green light.

They revealed that the museum space would take up less than 20 percent of the park.

However, people still aren’t happy including Kerry Williamsen. She is Ellen Kort’s daughter and said it meant so much to her family when the city named a park after her mother. She said her mother loved the outdoors and writing poetry about nature so it’s appropriate that the space is named after her.

However, she said if the Trout Museum of Art were to move in that could all change.

“I feel like they’re taking a little bit of her legacy away by doing that,” said Williamsen.

Local Five News spoke to Williamsen at the park about an hour before the meeting, but she told us after the meeting that the new details museum officials revealed about their site plan didn’t sway her opinion.

“What my mom taught me over the years is to stand up for what is right and to stand up for what you believe in and that is what I’m doing,” said Williamsen.