New ballpark talks are on for the Green Bay Bullfrogs (summer collegiate; Northwoods League), as the team is moving forward with plans for a $9 million facility.
It’s no secret that the Bullfrogs and parent organization Big Top Baseball have been vying for a new ballpark. Talks have been ongoing for several years to replace Joannes Stadium, and the latest proposal would not only address the Bullfrogs’ needs, but also bring a multi-use venue to downtown Green Bay.
Located on a city-owned parcel at Broadway and Mason Street, the new ballpark would host a projected 150 events annually, including 36 Bullfrogs games, plus concerts, festivals, and potentially a minor league soccer team. To fund the proposal, Big Top Baseball would pay $5 million—including $1 million up-front—while the city would invest $8 million in up-front costs, $4 million of which would be paid back over a 20-year period by Big Top. At this point, it’s expected that Green Bay’s contribution would come from borrowing and excess stadium tax revenue.
Green Bay’s redevelopment authority voted to move the project forward last night, when Big Top chief operating officer Conor Caloia explained how the ballpark would operate. More from the Green Bay Press-Gazette:
“We’ve had great success at Joannes … but it leaves something to be desired. We’re looking for a significant upgrade to our facilities as we grow,” Caloia said, referring to the Bullfrogs. “We’re really prepared and ready and able to operate a facility like this.”
To reach that level of use, Caloia said the event center would host a projected six concerts, eight community festivals, an unknown number of soccer matches and other events in addition to the 36 Bullfrogs home games each season.
Caloia said Big Top Baseball, under the name Broadway Events LLC, would operate, staff and maintain the facility for 20 years under the agreement’s proposed terms.
The proposal also requires the city to find a third-party developer to spend $2 million on new development near the stadium.
A few other details on the ballpark were revealed. It would seat 2,500 fans, and be laid out in a way that allowed for up to 8,000 spectators for large events. The next layer of approval will have to come from Green Bay’s city council. If everything stays on course, the terms of the agreement will be finalized in May, with the ballpark opening in either 2017 or 2018.