Green Guide

Students, committee to discuss future of Renard Island

Posted May 9

— The future of a man-made island off the shores of Green Bay is in flux, as the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers transfers ownership to Brown County.

The federal government created the landfill in the 1970s to store contaminated dredge material from the nearby Fox River, WLUK-TV reported (http://bit.ly/2pw52G6 ). The site was filled and closed over time.

"I've always looked at Renard Island as 55-acres of waterfront property, that's valuable," said Dean Haen, director of Brown County's port and resource recovery department.

A road to the island has been created. Haen said contaminants on the island are covered with 5 to 10 feet of dirt.

"We do know there's structural limitations," he said. "You can build anything you want on there, but it becomes too costly to really have those structures there."

The newly-created Harbor Commission Committee will explore plans, including some ideas University of Wisconsin-Green Bay students offered as part of an urban design class project.

The class project, called the Green Bay Waterfront District, includes developing more than just Renard Island. An observation tower, exploration center and housing units would complement Renard Island, which also would feature an amphitheater.

"The important thing is to create a place that's an exciting place, that's an innovative place, an educational place," said Marcelo Cruz, the class' professor. "A place that puts Green Bay, another area that puts Green Bay, as far as a tourist draw as well."

The students also plan to forward their findings to the Green Bay Economic Development Department.

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