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Foxconn has officially begun vertical construction on its $10 billion investment in Racine County. The celebration of this next major step in the project means that we are another step closer to seeing the full impact that the advanced manufacturing campus will have on our community — including 13,000 new jobs from Foxconn and the many more jobs that will be generated from other related developments.

Because of Foxconn’s development and other new investments in our community, Southeastern Wisconsin will soon see an influx of new workers. We want to make sure that we are positioned to attract as many of those new workers to live in Racine County as possible. More people choosing Racine County translates into greater economic development for our county, and more customers for our local businesses.

To do that, we anticipate needing nearly 10,500 additional housing units.

Our region is well positioned to accommodate a variety of new residential opportunities to support our community’s current and future workforce. With our diverse neighborhood options, including lakefront, urban, suburban and rural, future housing developments could satisfy a wide range of lifestyle needs.

The question becomes, how can we develop adequate housing options to meet these needs as a region? The answer — by working together, strategically.

To date, a team of consultants has led a housing initiative to determine best practices for residential growth. That team has worked diligently to present their findings to local municipalities and developers, and they have found that the best first step is for communities to join forces to develop realistic, achievable and unified regional land use and development goals.

Depending on the needs of each community, these goals might include: safe and healthy neighborhoods, quality open spaces, vibrant commercial districts, walkability, bikeability and transit options, equitable communities, efficient infrastructure, and a strong transportation network.

The next step in working together to develop cohesive goals will happen this week. Racine County, in partnership with the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority, will host a multicounty Southeastern Wisconsin Housing Summit today, Sept. 12, where regional municipalities, developers and investors will collaborate on opportunities and next steps in creating quality housing throughout Southeastern Wisconsin.

Now is the time for our communities to come together to guide the right type of developments into our area, capitalizing on economic developments and leading to growth in the right way.

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Jonathan Delagrave is the Racine County executive.

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