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Answering Foxconn questions

Jim Machnik, right, answers questions from residents living within the targeted Foxconn area during an informational session. The Village of Mount Pleasant plans on having more information sessions for residents as different parts of the project move forward.

MOUNT PLEASANT — Some property owners who have land in the area targeted for the Foxconn development could begin seeing appraisals for their land by the Village of Mount Pleasant at the end of the month.

On Tuesday, the village held informational sessions over three hours to answer questions from people who have property directly fronting Braun Road, Highway H or International Drive, which will be widened to accommodate the increased traffic.

Jim Machnik, an acquisition consultant working for the village, said the village Planning Commission is scheduled to vote on the road construction on Thursday. If that’s approved by the commission, the matter would be forwarded to the Village Board, which could give its seal of approval on Nov. 20.

“When (construction is) approved by the village, then we can start the appraisal process in connection with these three projects,” Machnik said. “It is our goal that we will be able to negotiate a settlement with each property owner for the acquisition of their property … most likely closings for these properties will be done late February, late March, somewhere in that period.”

During that process, the property owners can obtain independent appraisals, the costs of which will be reimbursed by the village, Machnik said.

“The same process will occur for the rest of the projects that are involved with this job and there will be a hearing similar to what we have here today for every project that goes online,” Machnik said.

Machnik added that a relocation plan needs to be approved by the Wisconsin Department of Administration, which will evaluate the deal property owners are getting.

The relocation plan has to be approved by the state before any acquisitions by the village can take place.

For those being displaced or having to move property as a result of the land acquisition, Machnik said the village will reimburse any moving costs or will subsidize residents “to a certain point” for those who may need to move to a temporary location before moving to their permanent location.

Miller Park-like traffic

When the Foxconn facility becomes fully staffed, there’s no doubt that it will add congestion to the local roadways during the shift changes from 6 to 7 a.m. and 6 to 7 p.m.

John Bieberitz, of Traffic Analysis and Design Inc., who is working with the village, said the roads are going to be widened to handle traffic that is similar to the area around Miller Park after a Milwaukee Brewers game.

“The game ends at 4 or 5 o’clock, you have anywhere between 4,000 to 7,000 vehicles leaving Miller Park, that’s what this is going to be,” Bieberitz said. “It’s going to be about 6,000 cars coming and going during that shift change.”

Highway H and International Drive are each planned to be widened to four lanes with a median splitting the roadway to two lanes in each direction.

Braun Road is planned to be widened to six lanes, with two lanes reserved for shuttles for Foxconn employees, and will also be divided by a median.

‘It will grow our economy’

Also on Tuesday night, the village’s Civic Affairs Committee met to discuss ongoing issues facing the village, including the question: How will the village handle Foxconn?

Village Planner Robin Palm said having one “mega, King Kong tenant,” like Foxconn, might outweigh other businesses, which is something the committee needs to keep an eye on.

“It’s going to be a big thing to try to balance the needs and wants and cares of that tenant (Foxconn) as opposed to everyone that’s been here already,” Palm said. “We cannot forget about these people.”

Palm said the Village Board recently rezoned land in the western part of the village to business park related to the Foxconn development, which “means there’s a lot more land out there available to be pretty much immediately developed into commercial or industrial use.”

“We’re going to be getting a lot more businesses,” Palm said.

Laurie Swanson, a committee member, said a lot has been focused on the potential negative side effects of Foxconn coming to the village, and residents may not realize “the amount of local businesses that are going to be impacted by this.”

“It’s going to grow our economy by all the businesses that they’re (Foxconn) going to impact,” Swanson said.

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Ricardo Torres covers federal, state and Racine County politics along with the Village of Mount Pleasant. He bleeds Wisconsin sports teams.

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