Green Bay Packers Hall of Famer Bob Harlan was honored Wednesday with the re-dedication of a new plaza in his name.
The newly redesigned Robert E. Harlan Plaza, in front of Lambeau Field, honors Harlan, the former Packers president and CEO. His 37-year career with the organization included a .500 or better season for 13 straight years from 1992 to 2004.
As Packers chairman emeritus, Harlan said he is honored his name would forever be embossed outside the stadium.
"To have my name associated with it means the world to me," Harlan said of Lambeau Field. "I have great respect for the history and tradition of this stadium. Not everyone has that but the Green Bay Packers do."
The larger, reconfigured Harlan Plaza is now at street level and farther west than its original location. The project required the removal of 2,200 truck loads of dirt, said Packers president and CEO Mark Murphy.
"This plaza is very different but remains a tribute to Bob Harlan," he said about the original plaza that opened in 2003.
"On a personal note, Bob has been so helpful to me during my tenure here." He added the two exchange frequent phone calls when Murphy is in need of job advice.
City officials, construction workers and fans attended the dedication ceremony, which is accompanied by thousands of shrubs and plants in addition to 13 Whitespire Birch trees, matching the number of the team's championships. Murphy assured the audience space was left for many more trees.
In the crowd was Gary Kerkhoff and his wife, Ginger. The Freedom couple couldn't wait to see to the plaza's unveiling.
"We're big Bob Harlan fans," Mr. Kerkhoff said. "We can't wait to see the Pro Shop."
Construction on the outdoor project began at the end of last season. Harlan Plaza — and the Pro Shop — will open to the public on July 17.
Relocating the plaza came with the decision to concentrate the Packers Pro Shop to one floor to for easy access. The Pro Shop is now located on the lower level of the Lambeau Field Atrium, is double the size of the original and can be entered directly.
The Curly Lambeau and Vince Lombardi statues have new homes on Harlan Plaza. The statues' new locations were strategically placed so they can be spotted from Lombardi Avenue, and so fans can take photos with the Atrium in the background, Murphy said. A new restaurant will take the place of the old Pro Shop location.
The new plaza was constructed by Hoerr Schaudt landscape architects of Illinois, the same company that designed Millenium Park in Chicago, Murphy said.
"I just couldn't be more pleased with the work they've done," Murphy said of the redesign team. "They've created something really special here."
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