When I became a village trustee, and later village president, I never could have imagined I would have the opportunity to be a part of a project that will transform our community quite like Foxconn will. Just last month, less than one year after initial exploratory conversations with Foxconn began, we saw the first contracts awarded for initial site work — the first of many milestones that will bring new jobs and opportunity to our community.
The timeline has been fast. My colleagues on the village and county boards can attest to the countless late nights that made this major milestone a reality. But I’m proud that although the timeline was fast, through it all, our focus has remained on achieving what is best for our community, our residents and our taxpayers. It was a commitment of mine, and a commitment shared by my colleagues on the village board, as well as the county executive, that this project move forward at no-cost to local taxpayers. We’ve stayed true to that commitment through our careful and conservative local tax incremental financing package.
When we started putting that financing package together toward the end of last year, the start of construction activity seemed so far away. But now, it’s full steam ahead. Over the course of many months, we will now start to see this as the groundwork for the construction of Foxconn’s $10 billion, 22-million-square-foot facility takes shape. Four million cubic yards of soil — enough to cover a football field 1,875 feet deep — will be moved to prepare the way for the vertical construction of the campus’ numerous high-tech buildings and infrastructure.
That’s impressive, and exciting — and in and of itself worth celebrating. When we look back on what we’ve accomplished in under a year’s time, in partnership with the State, the County, the Racine County Economic Development Corporation and many local municipalities and partners, it is truly remarkable. There have been skeptics along the way, residents who were cautious about the project and doubtful it would ever come to fruition. It’s hard to be skeptical now as hundreds of workers from 28 different contractors make their way onto the site to begin work.
Perhaps most noteworthy about the start of site work, is who will be doing the work. M+W — Gilbane, Foxconn’s lead contractor for the project, announced that this first phase of work will result in $100 million of contracts. The vast majority, 90 percent, of those contracts have been awarded to Wisconsin companies, 10 percent of which are located right here in Racine County.
I’ve always believed Foxconn’s commitment to Wisconsin was real, but now it’s proven, and it’s only the start. M+W Gilbane is gearing up for its next major contractor announcement and just recently, the village went out to bid for initial demolition work for the project. You can be sure even more Wisconsin and Racine County companies, and residents, will benefit.
I never had a doubt the Village of Mount Pleasant would be positively impacted by Foxconn’s unprecedented investment, but these first contractor awards are just a glimpse into the massive ripple effect that has and will continue to spread. It’s an exciting time to be a Mount Pleasant, Racine County and State of Wisconsin resident.