Study Shows Benefit of Closing Green Bay Correctional Institution in Allouez

Local News

A proposal to replace Green Bay Correctional Institution with new housing and business space in Allouez could create 1,400 jobs and over $1 million a year in property tax revenue.

As Kris Schuller reports, those were two findings in an economic-impact study on the proposal released this morning at St. Norbert College.

For two years Allouez village leaders have been pushing a plan to close Green Bay Correctional to reuse the property for new development. Tuesday evidence – the proposal has merit.

“Today is yet another step on the way to hopefully closing GBCI and coming up with a very exciting property in the village of Allouez,” said Village President Jim Rafter.

St. Norbert College released the results of a study it conducted to determine the potential economic impact to Brown County, if the 120-year-old prison was closed and the property redeveloped with hotels, restaurants, shops and office space.

“It’s a vision, it’s not what’s going to happen, but it’s what could be there,” Rafter said.

The study found repurposing the aging prison could create over 1,400 jobs; add between $60 million and $100 million in total property value, along with up to $1.4 million in annual property tax revenue.

“There is really no downsize to this project, everybody wins,” said Rep. David Steffen (R-Green Bay).

Steffen introduced legislation last year to replace the overcrowded prison with a privately built facility which would open GBCI to development. It failed to gather support.

“GBCI is costing Wisconsin roughly a million dollars a month more than a new facility,” said Rep. Steffen. 

But the lawmaker is determined to move the idea forward – he says the results of this study are hard to ignore. 

“The policy has been written, the plan has been developed, the people have spoken and now the proof has been released,” Steffen said.

A study Steffen and county leaders plan to share with the governor’s office in the coming weeks.

A state study to determine the needs of Wisconsin’s prison system is currently underway.

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