MOUNT PLEASANT — The Root Pike Watershed Initiative Network is continuing to find opportunities to improve the environment around the Foxconn development area.
Root Pike WIN, the Village of Mount Pleasant and Racine County are in the process of signing a memorandum of understanding regarding the Pike River watershed in and around Area III of the Foxconn Technology Group development. Area III encompasses the land east of Highway H to 90th Street and from Braun Road south to Highway KR.
The MOU has gone before both boards for first reading, and will likely be voted on for approval or denial toward the end of January.
Root Pike WIN is collaborating with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and other public and private organizations regarding stormwater runoff near the expansion of Highway KR.
The agreement aims to restore the Lamparek Ditch tributary, which starts near the American Transmission Co. substation in Area III and extends farther east.
Dave Giordano, executive director for the Root Pike WIN, said the Lamparek Ditch tributary is “in rough shape.”
“It’s one of the highest-degraded, impaired ditches … in the Pike River watershed,” Giordano said. “This is all before Foxconn was developed, by the way. It was already in poor shape.”
Two of the main goals of the MOU are to reduce the stormwater runoff and increase habitats for native species.
Although specifics on how to restore the watershed have not been established, one detail likely to remain is a 150-foot buffer on each side of the tributary which is about 36 acres of wetlands within that corridor.
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The project is estimated to cost $3 million to $4 million.
The hope is to restore the natural beauty of the area as well as possible as development is going on around it, Giordano said.
“It puts the valley, this beautiful valley, back into this project,” Giordano said. “The world is watching. I see articles all the time across the country about Foxconn and about this development. And I think this is an incredible opportunity to show them that this community can find a win-win.”
Claude Lois, Foxconn project manager for Mount Pleasant, said the main funding mechanism for the project is anticipated to be grants.
“There are a number of grants out there, of associations that are looking for things to fund,” Lois said. “This fits a lot of their criteria.”
‘Not a one-year project’
Lois cautioned that this project will likely not be done soon.
“This is not a one-year project … this may take us 5, 10, 15 years,” Lois said. “But if we don’t have a plan in place, if we don’t have a goal in place, you’re never going to get there.”
Village President Dave DeGroot said the collaboration will be beneficial for the area.
“This is a classic example of how responsible development can, indeed, coexist with wise environmental stewardship,” DeGroot said.
“This is a classic example of how responsible development can, indeed, coexist with wise environmental stewardship.”
Dave DeGroot, Mount Pleasant village president