A proposal to replace the Green Bay Correctional Institution is “still very much alive,” state Rep. Joel Kitchens told the Kewaunee County Board last week.

“I think there’s going to be something happening with that, as far as closing down the Brown County prison, and they’re very interested in Kewaunee County,” Kitchens said.

Rep. David Steffen, R-Green Bay, has been advocating to decommission the Green Bay Correctional Institution (pictured) and build a new state prison in Northeast Wisconsin, possibly in Kewaunee County. The proposal is being considered by a Department of Corrections study committee that is reviewing the overall needs of the state prison system.

The village of Allouez has said it would like the 120-year-old prison closed so that the property along the Fox River and adjacent to State Highway 172 can be redeveloped. It’s been slow going in the state Legislature, so the Village Board recently posted an online petition to gather citizen support for the effort.

Steffen’s proposal involves a private-public partnership under which the private sector would own the new facility and the Department of Corrections would operate it. The new prison would be built either in Brown County or a bordering county; Kewaunee County, the city of Algoma and village of Luxemburg have expressed an interest in talking about the idea.

A 15-member Corrections Facilities Planning Committee began work in December; part of its mission is to complete a 10-year facilities master plan that will include considering the life cycle of existing institutions and the benefits of repair and maintenance versus new construction.