MOUNT PLEASANT — The enormous Foxconn Technology Group project can now move forward.
With well over 100 invited guests looking on at the Mount Pleasant Village Hall on Friday, officials from Foxconn, the village and Racine County signed the local development agreement that seals the terms of the company’s future $10 billion manufacturing campus it plans to build here.
The Taiwanese-based company, a designer and manufacturer of liquid crystal display panels and finished products, intends to build a 32-million-square-foot manufacturing campus in the southwestern corner of Mount Pleasant, with construction scheduled to start next year. The campus is expected to employ up to 13,000 people — excluding an estimated 10,000 construction jobs and many thousands more indirect jobs.
The local development agreement, with the county and village acting as partners, outlines the responsibilities of Foxconn, Racine County and Mount Pleasant, along with guarantees and protections for taxpayers. It requires that more than half of the promised 13,000 jobs must be in Racine County.
And according to Foxconn’s contract with the State of Wisconsin, those jobs must average about $53,000 per year for Foxconn to qualify for full tax credits under the $2.85 billion incentives package.
“It’s a conservative, creative and thorough agreement, and we believe it will literally change the landscape of this county, this community and the state of Wisconsin,” said Jenny Trick, executive director of the Racine County Economic Development Corp., which led throughout the long process of putting together the Foxconn deal.
“Today we sign an agreement that will change the projection of our county for generations to come,” said Racine County Executive Jonathan Delagrave. “After today, this community will become home to one of the largest manufacturing campuses in the entire world.”
Referring to the process of negotiations that led to the local development agreement, Delagrave said, “Although the timeline was expedited … it was not rushed. We were careful. We were thoughtful. And we worked hard to maximize the benefits for, and to protect, Racine County residents and taxpayers.”
“One of the world’s greatest innovators makes official that they’ve chosen to invest in Racine County and call it home,” Delgrave said. “… this is a moment that demands nothing less than for us all to celebrate.”
The signing of the 33-page development agreement was a protracted process. One by one, the entire Racine County Board of Supervisors, the four Mount Pleasant trustees who could attend, and village Community Development Authority Chairman Rob Richardson all walked to the front of the large meeting room at the village hall and signed multiple copies of the development agreement. They were followed by four executives of Foxconn and three of its subsidiaries.
After all the local officials had signed the development agreement, Louis Woo, special assistant to Foxconn founder and CEO Terry Gou, took the podium.
“We were here about six, seven weeks ago,” Woo said referring to the signing of the state incentives contract. “I considered that an engagement. And now, this is a wedding.”
Woo then drew laughter by likening the local development deal to the prenuptial agreement.
To drive home the enormity of the business partner Racine and the state have taken on, Woo said this: Add up the populations of Racine, Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay, Kenosha, Appleton and Waukesha, they total about 1.3 million people.
“That’s the number of people we have at Foxconn,” Woo said.
He also gave the audience a sense of just how the gargantuan Foxconn project is only part of the story that may unfold in coming years.
“I also want to share with you that you should not look at Foxconn as a manufacturing company,” Woo said. “We’re way beyond that; we are a technology company.”
Together, Woo said, “in fact we are building a mecca, a hub, an ecosystem … we’re going to attract many more high-technology companies — either as our suppliers or simply because of the fact that there is a concentration of talents here in Racine in the years to come.”
“We are making history — we are not just a part of history,” Woo said.
Claude Lois, Foxconn project director for Mount Pleasant and former mayor of Burlington, outlined the next steps in the Foxconn project. On Tuesday, Racine County will issue about $80 million in bonds to buy land in Area I, where the company will build its manufacturing campus. That area lies between Interstate 94 and Highway H, and Highway KR and Braun Road.
The village will begin exercising purchase options with property owners, meaning letting them know it will indeed be buying their land, Lois continued. Those purchases will start closing in late January to early February. The village will also continue acquisitions needed for road projects.
And he said the village will meet with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation on Dec. 14 to plan for the road-widening projects the state is taking on which includes Interstate 94.
As part of the local development agreement, Foxconn agreed to deposit $60 million in the bank for Mount Pleasant to draw from for the acquisition of land in areas II and III. (Area II is for future Foxconn development and Area III is for construction staging and later, future development). Those funds are expected to be deposited by Dec. 15.
Initial construction will start next spring when frost is out of the ground, Lois said.
RACINE — It was something Derrick Seay understood from the start.
If he expected to play football for Horlick High School, Seay knew his grades would have to be in order. His mother, Michelle, made that clear from the start.
“If you don’t have the grades, you’ll have nothing, because you have nothing to fall back on if you break a bone,” Michelle Seay recalls saying to the second of her three children.
There was something else Seay understood once he walked onto a football field. As a cornerback for Horlick, his job was to neutralize the opposing team’s best receiver on a weekly basis.
Seay, a senior, handled that responsibility so well that he earned first-team Associated Press All-State honors. Racine County players who were also honored are Horlick senior running back Joe Garcia, who was second team, and St. Catherine’s junior quarterback Da’Shaun Brown, who was honorable mention.
The team was selected Thursday morning via teleconference call involving sportswriters representing all regions of the state. The Journal Times was involved in the selection process for the team, which was officially released late Friday night.
Seay was one of the key players behind a Horlick team that went 10-1 and finished the regular season ranked fifth among large schools in the AP state poll. The three-year starter intercepted four passes even though opposing quarterbacks rarely challenged him, he broke up 16 passes and allowed just one touchdown pass.
“He’s got the height and athleticism and we matched him against the other team’s top receiver every week,” Horlick coach Brian Fletcher said. “He was able to shut down kids this year and last year who went on to play at some pretty big colleges.
“He was probably the best corner that we ever had here. He’s the ultimate team player and just a phenomenal kid.”
For Seay, who was also first team on the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association All-State team and Defensive Back of the Year in the Southeast Conference, Thursday’s news was a surprise.
“It feels great to earn an achievement like that,” Seay said. “I didn’t even know about All-Region and when I got that, I was all stoked. But getting All-State is even better.”
Horlick has made quite an impact on the AP All-State team the last two years. Guard Jordan Gallagher earned first-team honors as a senior last season. And Garcia is joining Seay this season.
Garcia was one of the premier breakaway threats in the state, averaging 9.95 yards per carry during his three-year varsity career. Despite missing Horlick’s first-round playoff game with a pulled hamstring and often sitting out the second half of the Rebels’ lopsided victories, he rushed for 1,319 yards and 20 touchdowns on 130 carries.
His big-play ability is illustrated in the fact that in three years at Horlick, Garcia scored 25 touchdowns that covered at least 45 yards.
“Getting All-State is outstanding,” Garcia said. “Last year, I made honorable mention (on the WFCA team) and I wasn’t satisfied with that. So, coming into my senior year, I had a chip on my shoulder and I wanted to make first team or second team.
“I worked my butt off in practice and it happened. It worked out for me.”
Brown might have been the most high-profile player in the county this season considering he received full scholarship offers from Wisconsin Sept. 1 and from Iowa Nov. 18.
With Brown setting the tone, the Angels went 10-1 and advanced to the second round of the WIAA Division 4 playoffs. He passed for 1,314 yards and 17 touchdowns and rushed for 1,134 yards and 16 scores.
“Da’Shaun is an exceptional talent,” St. Catherine’s coach Dan Miller said. “Da’Shaun made everyone around him better whether it was running the ball, throwing the ball or his command of our offense.”
Jacob Heyroth, a senior running back-linebacker from Lodi, was named the AP State Player of the Year. Heyroth rushed for 2,758 yards and 35 touchdowns before rushing for 151 yards and a touchdown on 35 carries in Lodi’s 17-10 victory over Hammond St. Croix Central in the Division 4 state championship. Heyroth doubled as a linebacker for the 14-0 Blue Devils.
Voted Coach of the Year was Steve Jones of Kimberly. He led the Papermakers to their fifth straight state championship with a 27-7 victory over Sun Prairie in the WIAA Division 1 championship game. Kimberly has a 70-game winning streak, longest in the nation.
RACINE — Those at the Racine Salvation Army got a surprise when counting red kettle donations on Thursday night. Inside one of the kettles was a diamond engagement ring and wedding band, with a blue ribbon tying them together.
The white gold matching wedding set, found in the kettle that was posted outside of Piggly Wiggly, 5201 Washington Ave., Mount Pleasant, is estimated to be worth between $800 to $1,000.
“The finding of the rings continues what has been a very good start to the Kettle Campaign season,” said Major Ken Nicolai, corps officer of the Racine Salvation Army in a press statement. “We are grateful for this generous gift.”
The local Salvation Army received a diamond ring donation in a kettle around three years ago, but Nicolai said that longtime members of the organization don’t recall receiving any similar donations prior to that.
“It’s not very common at all,” Nicolai said during a phone interview on Friday.
After collections end for the day, the Salvation Army’s counters sit in a room together, and sift through donations. They have a sort of internal competition to see who will find the largest or most unusual donation, Nicolai said. The man who discovered the rings let everyone else know about his find.
“He yelled out,” Nicolai said. “He was pretty excited.”
Nicolai said he hoped the donation was not due to the end of a relationship.
“You never know the reason behind why someone would give a wedding set,” he said. “But we want them to know that it’s going to help a lot of people.”
The Racine Salvation Army will continue to collect red kettle donations at 21 locations throughout greater Racine until Dec. 23.