Sunday, January 30, 2011

Who Really Wants to Build on the Wetlands Surrounding Lambeau Field?

Wealthy businessman (and Green Bay Packers Executive Committee Member) John Bergstrom called in a favor with new Governor Scott Walker in order to get legislation allowing the team to build on protected wetlands near Lambeau Field for a proposed retail-entertainment center called Titletown Sports District.  It was hoped that Bass Pro Shops would anchor the retail component.

However, the environmentally-conscious company has distanced itself from the project, stating that it does not build on wetlands.

Governor Walker persists in saying he can change their mind (just as he insisted he could get the federal government to allow Wisconsin to use those rail project funds for roads).  I expect the outcome to be the same.

But what I find interesting about the coverage of this issue is that the Wisconsin media (and bloggers critical of the special treatment for Bergstrom and destruction of wetlands in general) have downplayed or ignored the role of the Green Bay Packers organization in this project.  Bergstrom was acting on behalf of the Packers in seeking special treatment.  Why ignore that fact?  Do we want to avoid criticizing our beloved Packers?  Or do we fear that voters won't care as much about the wetlands as long as it's the Packers who want to pave them over?


Deekaman said...

The definition of "wetlands" has changed so significantly just in my 10 years of association with it that has become nearly useless. Basically, if there is a mudpuddle on it, it is a "wetland" and you may not build on it. It has become ridiculous. "Navigable Waters" is a definition which has become equally ludicrous. It's about non-development, not "saving species".

Dan said...

I agree with Deekman. Is there water on the spot year round or only when it rains? If it just an area that rarely gets water, then what's the problem? If it holds water all year round then maybe conservationists may have a point, unless, of course it is an area where it is just a breeding ground for mosquitos.
Finally doesn't Green bay have a lot of water in the area?

Ordinary Jill said...

You're missing one of the most important functions of wetlands - holding and filtering floodwaters during heavy rains. Did you not notice what happened to I-39 near Portage during those torrential downpours a few years ago? The water had nowhere to go because of all the wetlands (most of which were wet only when it rained) that had been paved over in recent years. How profitable will that Titletown Sports District be if the Lambeau Field Atrium's lower level floods? Developers always downplay the risk of future floods (just as mortgage brokers downplayed the risk of the housing bubble collapsing).

Dan said...

I understand Jill, but they can also build flood control devices. I do remember the floods by Portage, but they flood all the time. None went over I-39 (if we are thinking of the same incident)
they probably could build a big retention pond and that would solve the problem.

Ordinary Jill said...

From what I understand, their "remediation" plan involves creating new wetlands in a different area to make up for the loss of habitat. I have heard nothing about planned flood control devices. Yes, I care about birds and water quality, but I'm really angry at the short-sightedness with regards to property damage, given the monsoon rains Wisconsin has been getting in recent years.

Dan said...

And I guess, snowfalls?
Good luck tonight.