One-by-one, members of the boards that control Racine County and the Village of Mt. Pleasant signed agreements Friday that commit the entities to borrowing millions of dollars on behalf of Foxconn, the Taiwanese-based electronics manufacturer that plans to build a huge plant in the village. Representatives of Foxconn also signed off on the deal.
The signing ceremony was a time for celebratory remarks and expressions of confidence that the ten-billion dollar plan and its thousands of jobs, over time, will pan out. "After today, this community will become home to one of the largest manufacturing campuses in the entire world," said Racine County Executive Jonathan Delagrave.
At the moment, though, the long-term vision seems a bit clearer than the short-term. Racine County Economic Development Corporation Director Jenny Trick said she's still trying to nail down some of the details. "Our goal is to work with Foxconn to develop a timeline as to what is going to be expected when," she said.
Still, there are plenty of signs of movement. A preliminary site plan is out, groundbreaking is tentatively scheduled for April and a temporary manufacturing facility with a smattering of employees is operational.
As they’ve done in the past, Foxconn officials Friday avoided reporters’ questions.
In his comments at the signing ceremony, Dr. Louis Woo, the top-ranking company official present, seemed to want to quell any signs of buyer's remorse among the elected officials. "I know that some of you thought you were going out on a political limb... to agreeing to this agreement together with Foxconn," he said. "I understand that. To any one of us an uncertain future is kind of scary. But I can assure you we've done this before."
Woo implied that Foxconn's financial strength will carry the project through, noting that if Foxconn were a country, it would be considered the 59th largest in the world.
The signing ceremony was followed by a luncheon.