Wednesday’s announcement that Foxconn has indeed chosen a site in Mt. Pleasant in rural Racine County to build one of the largest manufacturing complexes in the world makes it much more likely that the $10 billion investment will become a reality.
Several hundred people attended the event at iMET in Sturtevant. Racine County Economic Corp. Development Director Jenny Trick emceed. Speakers included Raicne County Executive Jonathan Delagrave. Mt. Pleasant Village President Dave DeGroot and Louis Woo, special assistant to Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou.
Neither Gou or Gov. Walker attended, an apparent tit-for-tat arrangement that denoted the lack of a site agreement on a contract between the Wisconsin Development Economic Development Corp. and Foxconn.
Both the state and local contracts are expected to be finalized in the coming weeks, signaling all are on board.
Even the Mt. Pleasant Village Board—which has a history of political division—seems to be in full support. Trustee Ken Otwaska says Foxconn is not something he can pass up. "I couldn't sleep nights if I did that--I really couldn't," Otwaska said afterward. "I'm a Mt. Pleasant resident all my life. My family came 100 years ago. I'm a taxpayer. And I'm so happy and excited about this whole deal."
Some landowners in the targeted area have expressed reluctance to sell. But officials said 90% of the 1,000 acre-plus primary tract is already under Foxconn control. The per acre purchase price? In the neighborhood of $50,000.
The complex would go up just north of the Kenosha/Racine County line between Highway ‘H’ and I-94. Yet to be acquired are hundreds of acres south of Highway 11 earmarked for future expansion, and some acreage east of Highway ‘H’ that would be used for construction staging.
Later in the day, Racine County released its proposed local financing package. All of the borrowing—$764 million-- would be paid back through tax incremental financing. A county sales tax is not part of the deal.
A hearing on the plan will be held Oct. 18th.
If all goes as planned, construction could begin next spring.