Published : Thursday, 11 Feb 2010, 7:29 AM CST
More than 10 years after the Packers unveiled the original Lambeau renovation plan, another plan is in the works. This time, it involves land owned by the Packers near the stadium. In the last three years, the team has purchased about 20 acres on the west-side of Lambeau, including the land where Kmart and Big Lots sit.
"We don't have any plans on the table right now," said Jason Wied, Packers vice-president of administration.
Plans may not be on the table, but plenty of ideas are being discussed. Several sources who have seen the plans describe it as a Packers-themed village.
What might it include? Here's what we've been able find out:
How about a Packers hotel? Or go shopping in the shadow of Lambeau. Those sources say the Packers are trying to bring a major retail anchor to the area. Perhaps you want your office with a view of the stadium. Want your kids to play sports near the Packers? There could be a youth sports complex for that. You may be able to work out near Lambeau at a sports health facility.
Wied told FOX 11 the team is simply talking about ideas.
"It's waiting for the right idea," Wied said. "We'll know it when we see it and we can take steps forward at that point. But right now, we're just waiting to make sure it's the right idea."
Besides the land near the stadium, the Packers are considering a possible addition to the stadium. Seats and luxury boxes could be added in the south end zone and more commercial space developed on the Oneida Street side of the stadium.
"We've considered opportunities for expanding the stadium and finding more space to get more people in for home games," Wied said. "It's just a thought process. We don't have any immediate plans to do those things. But it is something that we've talked about ever since the renovation."
The Packers have been meeting with local government officials in the last few months about possible development. Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt told FOX 11 one possibility is the creation of an economic development district around the stadium, which would include parts of Green Bay and Ashwaubenon.
"I think there's a whole Titletown district that could be created with new jobs, new businesses. I think there's great opportunity," Schmitt said.
While there may be opportunity, there are also a lot of questions, like how to pay for it. One of the things being looked at is the possibility of having a portion of a county sales tax help fund development near the stadium.
The half percent Brown County sales tax we pay now is for the renovation of Lambeau Field. It is expected to end in four or five years. At any point now or in the future, the county could put its own half percent sales tax in place.
Brown County Executive Tom Hinz denied our request for an on camera interview but told FOX 11 the sales tax idea has "been thrown out there."
But Hinz added, "To put another sales tax out right now? That won't happen."
"I think the public knows that I'm the last guy that's interested in subsidizing the Packers. Now, I don't have anything against the Packers," said Brown County board chairman Guy Zima. Zima has been in meetings with the Packers. He said he hasn't heard anything about tax money being used.
"All we know is they have contacted a lot of different businesses and they're looking to bring businesses in," Zima said. "They're interested in expanding their complex and if there's way to cooperatively work between the city, the county and Ashwaubenon to get some development, we're willing to look at it."
So whether it's a hotel, youth sports complex or sports health facility, if development happens, what do the Packers think of a possible county sales tax to fund it?
"We can only focus on the things we can control and what we can control is what happens with this stadium in connection with the city of Green Bay," Wied said. "So we haven't taken our focus off that in terms of economic development and things like that that's something for the county and village and city to focus on more so than us."
When asked whether the Packers are actively pursuing or lobbying for the county sales tax, Wied replied, "At this point the Packers are really focused on what's going to make sense for us to sustain ourselves for the next decades to come. So were mainly in the idea stage of getting concepts but we're certainly open to ideas that politicians have and the village and county and city have but that's as far as our discussions have gone on that."
The stadium district is doing an economic impact study for the land around Lambeau Field. Part of that study will look at the potential for development near the stadium. The study will be completed in March. The Packers say they have no timeline for when any plans will be made public.