On July 26, 2017, Wisconsin gained national attention when President Donald Trump announced at the White House that Foxconn Technology Group might be coming to the state.
Over the months that followed, we learned the Taiwanese giant was not only coming to Mount Pleasant but was also proposing to build a massive $10 billion manufacturing campus that would create up to 13,000 jobs in Wisconsin.
Since that time, people all around the country and world have been paying close attention to the project, and Racine County.
They are coming at it from an outsider’s perspective, thinking: How could this huge company end up in this “tiny town?” Will Mount Pleasant be able to cope with so much development?
For instance, a recent Reply All podcast, an audio show that’s run by two journalists and that gets an average of 5 million downloads a month, started by saying: “There is this tiny town in Wisconsin called Mount Pleasant … a place where nothing really happens until last year when the village became the site of a completely unprecedented massive international experiment.”
As part of that podcast, they wrongfully cast Mount Pleasant Village President Dave DeGroot as the villain in this “small town” story.
They’re wrong. There is a lot they don’t understand.
For one, Mount Pleasant’s president was only one person seated at a table that included more than 50 people.
That local Foxconn team included attorneys, financial advisers, communication specialists, property-acquisition personnel, members of the Racine County Economic Development Corp, and representatives of Racine County as well as Mount Pleasant. It’s a team that has done commendable work bringing this development to Racine County and Wisconsin.
Outsiders also fail to understand that Mount Pleasant is not some tiny village filled with cornfields. It’s in the middle of a bustling corridor between Milwaukee, a metropolitan area of about 1.6 million people, and Chicago, a metropolitan area with about 9.5 million. Racine has long been regarded as part of the Milwaukee metropolitan area, both by the Census Bureau and by the federal Office of Management and Budget; the village of Mount Pleasant borders Racine to the south, north and west.
Racine County was due for some sort of big development. Foxconn has already brought new opportunities to this area and has led to the establishment of innovation centers in various parts of the state.
With so massive a development coming to our area, first announced by the president of the United States himself, it’s not surprising that outsiders are looking in and asking questions, just as The Journal Times is asking, and will continue to ask, questions to keep officials accountable.
Foxconn in Mount Pleasant is more than a “tiny town” story. This is a national and international story.
The team in place here has really done praiseworthy work. They should be commended, even as we hold them accountable.
— From The Journal Times of Racine