Since President Donald Trump’s announcement in July 2017 that Foxconn Technology was making a $10 billion investment in Wisconsin and bringing up to 13,000 jobs, there have been critics.
Since that time, there have been changes to Foxconn’s plans, from what kind of screens may be produced, to what types of workers will be needed at the Mount Pleasant campus.
Throughout the changes, Foxconn has remained committed to the state of Wisconsin and to Racine County.
As recently as Thursday, the company stated: “Our investment in Wisconsin is driven by our vision to help the Badger State create an advanced high-tech ecosystem, thus establishing Wisconsin as a global technology hub, not only through the Wisconn Valley Science and Technology Park (WVSTP), but also through our extensive investments that go beyond the WEDC contract, including our statewide network of Wisconn Valley Innovation Centers, the $100 million research partnership with UW-Madison for Foxconn Institute for Research in Science and Technology (FIRST), our partnerships with students, staff and faculty in higher education via the $1 million Smart Cities Smart Futures competition, and the $100M Wisconn Valley Venture Fund.”
That said, a $10 billion investment doesn’t come together overnight and, while construction starts in Area I, it makes sense to allow the Village of Mount Pleasant to lease some of the currently unused land to area farmers.
Earlier this month, the Mount Pleasant Village Board voted to allow the leasing of portions of the Foxconn development area.
The board voted in favor of leasing 966 acres in Areas II and III, to Tom Fliess Jr. for $180 per acre for a total of $173,000; and 50 acres in Area III to Joe Cramer, for $180 per acre for a total of $9,000.
Area II is located south of Highway 11, east of Interstate 94, west of Highway H and north of Braun Road. Area III is located south of Braun Road, east of Highway H, west of 90th Street and north of Highway KR.
Fliess sold his property to the village for $1.675 million in August 2018.
Each lease is for one year and each party, including the village, can terminate the lease with a 30-day notice.
Some have criticized the village for leasing the land, with village Trustee Gary Feest saying: “I’m a little uncomfortable that the village is becoming a land broker here.”
Village President Dave DeGroot asked Feest if he would be OK with weeds growing on the property, to which Feest replied: “I guess to the degree of principle, yes … it’s just we buy all of this land, remove the people from it and now we’re making money from it. I’m a little uneasy with it.”
We look forward to the day when Foxconn is up and running. But we understand it takes time.
Allowing farming to continue on the land until the campus is built only makes sense financially. The land shouldn’t go unused as a matter of principle.