GREEN BAY, Wis (WFRV) Mayor Schmitt took the stage at the Meyer Theatre, filled with confidence that the projects his administration is pursuing in 2013, are in the best interest of the city and Green Bay taxpayers. "I've never felt more confident that we are meeting our goals," Schmitt said.
During an hour-long speech, updates on work ongoing and glimpses of projects yet to come. But his focus was the central city. In downtown, Schmitt said construction of Schreiber Foods new headquarters is on track and work on the expansion of the K-I Convention Center should start in October.
"The convention center will stimulate our economy with more convention events and with an economic impact of $5 million," Schmitt said. The mayor also said sometime this year, a grocery store will be selected to serve downtown residents.
However, Schmitt also made news by announcing an Iowa-based company, specializing in historic renovations, will soon buy and renovate the former Northland Hotel, a $20 million project. "The Northland Hotel is Green Bay; it is socially significant, historically significant and architecturally significant. We have a lot of work to do and are confident in delivery and the sense of place you all expect," Schmitt said.
An undertaking that many say will honor the hotel's historic past. "I'm so glad that we have city leaders that recognize the importance of downtown," said Jeff Mirkes, executive director of Downtown Green Bay Inc. Green Bay Alderman Jerry Wiezbiskie said, "people are moving in, new businesses are coming, and this is the ebb of a great tide."
In terms of maintaining a better community, the mayor announced a new police unit to enforce traffic laws and the hiring of a residential housing investigator to crack down on problem rental properties. However, Schmitt's focus was clearly on development downtown. A priority for the mayor, so many years in the making. "I focused on downtown. But that has been my biggest challenge and things are coming together now," Schmitt said.
The mayor also proposed the formation of a regional-metro Green Bay government by 2025. He said it would give the area more political clout in Madison and create more opportunity for economic growth.