Sturgeon Bay community fights to save historic softball field

Local News

Woody Wodack says Sturgeon Bay’s West Side Field is more than just bases and bleachers.

“Many generations have played at this field,” he said. “There’s no field quite like it, and in my opinion, it’s not replaceable.”

But plans for an affordable housing development could mean Sturgeon Bay’s softballers will have to find a new place to play.

“What we have is two properties that are regarded in the community as historic right next to each other,” Sturgeon Bay Mayor David Ward explained, “and for this project to fly, we have to take part of the softball field.”

The City’s Common Council voted 5-2 Tuesday to approve plans for an Oshkosh developer to purchase the historic West Side School and convert it into ten housing units.

Those units would be available for rent at market value.

The plan also calls for 30 additional units to be built in the lot adjacent to the school, which currently houses the West Side Field.

The 30 additional units would be classified as affordable housing, which Mayor Ward says the city is in desperate need of.

“Our industrial park is really booming,” he said. “They get people to come to Sturgeon Bay for the job, but then they have difficulty or they can’t find housing, and oftentimes if they can’t find housing, they don’t take the job.”

Fans of the field say that housing units should be built elsewhere and that they will continue to fight for the field.

“I want to see my grandchildren play here,” Wodack said.

Final plans for the housing development will need to be approved next Spring. If those plans are approved, construction could begin as early as Fall 2020.

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