MOUNT PLEASANT — After Gov. Scott Walker and Foxconn Chairman and CEO Terry Gou signed the contract Friday to bring the Foxconn Technology Group to Wisconsin, the Village of Mount Pleasant took its own step to help keep the project moving forward.
Meeting in a rare Friday night session, the village Planning Commission unanimously recommended rezoning of the land where the Foxconn Technology Group plans to build its massive manufacturing facility — 1,198 acres between Interstate 94 and Highway H and between Highway KR and Braun Road.
The Village Board on Monday night is scheduled to vote on the business park rezoning recommendation for the Foxconn area.
According to its contract with Foxconn Technology Group, the state could provide as much as $2.85 billion worth of tax credits to the company. In exchange, Foxconn is to invest $9 billion to construct the facility and hope to create as many as 10,000 construction jobs and 13,000 manufacturing jobs at their Mount Pleasant technology campus.
‘Can’t stop progress’
Floyd Leonard, an appointed citizen member of the Planning Commission, recused himself from the rezoning vote because he’s directly affected by Foxconn coming to the village.
As co-owner of Floyd’s Towing and Recovery, 1525 Durand Ave., Mount Pleasant, the business bought a 20-acre piece of property off the Interstate 94 east frontage road more than 10 years ago with hopes of it becoming a second location and putting up some buildings on the property that could be rented out.
Leonard said they had just finished paying off the land when public officials announced the site would be part of the Foxconn deal.
At that moment, Leonard said he felt a “lump in the throat,” but added “you can’t stop progress.”
“We had to swallow that (cost) and we’ll have to see what we do next,” Floyd said. “We’ll be fine … I think it’s probably the best for the village. We really need a boost and I think this will give it to us.”
Having only been on the Planning Commission for the last year, Leonard said he’s had affected property owners in the Foxconn area approach him with concerns that their taxes will go up once the land is rezoned.
“Everybody seems to be worried about their taxes and I want to make sure that they understand that their (assessment classification) would be the same until it was developed,” Leonard said, adding that current property owners will be “grandfathered in” as far as how their property is assessed.
Despite being affected by Foxconn moving in on his land, Leonard said he welcomes the company and hopes others do, too, saying “life changes and we have to change with it.”
“I hope and pray that the people of Mount Pleasant learn it’s progress and we needed it,” Leonard said. “We lost a lot of industry. This should really be a push. I think it will be a great thing.”