GREEN BAY AREA REGIONAL NEWS: Brown County

Assembly vote expected on bill to fund new visitor center near Lambeau Field

Local News

ASHWAUBENON, Wis. (WFRV) There is promising news for an important community project, in limbo since the fall of 2018.  State lawmakers will soon vote on a bill to provide funding for a new visitor center in Ashwaubenon.

For a year and a half the Greater Green Bay Convention and Visitor Bureau has been waiting to build a $6 million visitor center near Lambeau Field.

“It’s the perfect place, the perfect location,” said CVB President Brad Toll.

But Toll says expected funding from the state to help –  has never materialized.

“Sometimes projects like this become a bit of a political football,” Toll said.

But Thursday Toll says the Assembly should vote on a bipartisan compromise bill – to finally make the project a reality.

Under the bill the state would provide the Greater Green Bay Convention and Visitor Bureau with an interest free $2 million loan to get the project built. A loan – not a grant, something that in the past had little support from lawmakers.

“It was in Gov. Evers original budget, then it was taken out. Then we had a stand alone bill that was done with grant money,” said Rep. Staush Gruszynski (D-Green Bay).

Representative Gruszynski says those efforts went nowhere. But realizing the economic impact of tourism to the region lawmakers reached across the aisle to find a solution.

“We have nearly 6 million visitors that come to Brown County every year,” Toll said.

“I think we finally found what the funding source needs to be, what this project needs to look like,” said Gruszynski.

“What we have done is proposed an opportunity that will get this project going and likely get the support of the legislature,” said Representative David Steffen (R-Howard).

If passed by the Assembly it heads to the Senate where Toll says it too should find support.

“We’ve never really had a place and an opportunity to share that story and this building will do that,” Toll said.

Toll says the governor also supports the bill and if approved, construction could start in April.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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