OPINION: Skeptical about whether Foxconn is happening?

Foxconn
Work continues on the expansive site for the future Foxconn company facility and Wisconsin Valley Science & Technology Park in the Village of Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin Monday June 11, 2018. (c) Mark Hertzberg, for Racine County Eye

Whether you see the $10 billion Foxconn Technology Group manufacturing campus in Mount Pleasant as a boom or boondoggle, it’s happening. At least the first phase is. But you wouldn’t know it by reading some national headlines, which seemed to change significantly over the last week.

Foxconn: Media report about suspending construction project inaccurate

Homes have been razed. Dirt has been moved. Utility work has begun. A building has been built, an occupancy permit has been issued, and site preparation for a three-million-square-foot building is set to begin as soon as the ground thaws.

Still, questions remain about whether the multi-billion dollar electronics manufacturer will be making small screens, big screens or doing research and development. How many people will Foxconn hire? That too is a valid question and is indicative of a trust issue people genuinely have about the project. That needs to be acknowledged — and it has somewhat through their press releases.

So where does this deep-seated skepticism come from? Racine residents are pretty tired of losing out on developments. We’ve lost Machinery Row,  the Porter’s project, Point Blue and others.

Now, could the project fall apart? Sure. Could it be scaled back significantly? Absolutely. Is this project a political hot potato on a local, state, and national level? Yes, yes, and more yes. There’s a lot going on here. This story has multiple layers: jobs, construction, environmental, and political.

To be clear, I am not privy to all of the political inner workings of this project. But I have tracked the real estate transfers, the contracts, and the hiring events. And then there is the work being done on the actual site — a lot of it.

So I wanted to unpack this story at a very cellular level and take you to the job site.  So you can make up your mind about how you feel about it. Why? Because this is Racine County… we don’t believe anything is happening until we see it happening.

But I also wanted to acknowledge the very real questions people (at least those mentioned in my comment thread on Facebook) are asking: Where do we as a community fit into this foreign-owned development that seemed to come out of nowhere? What kinds of jobs are you really going to hire? And ultimately, will we like working for you?

If you have any questions, feel free to email me, Denise Lockwood, at denise@racinecountyeye.com. I’ll make more videos in the future.

 

 

About Denise Lockwood 833 Articles
Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for Patch.com, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.