Opinion: The Highway KR Project – The Expendables

road projects employment
Work continues on many WisDOT road projects both in the city of Racine and adjacent to the Foxconn site.

There once was a City and a Village, who dreamed of glory. The City hopes to return to its former days of being an industrial king, and the Village of being somebody—anybody? In 2017, County Executive Jonathan Delagrave and Mount Pleasant Village President, David DeGroot saw their chance for the fairy tale when an international manufacturing giant, Foxconn, dangled their shiny coin of wealth and prosperity in front of them. To be true, many communities had seen this shiny carrot before, and become suspicious that—what’s too good to be true? Is sometimes—too good to be true. However, the City of Racine, Racine County, and the Village of Mount Pleasant banked all their hopes—-along with resident’s properties, and taxpayer dollars on this shiny coin—-a shiny coin that many are starting to question whether or not it has become tarnished with broken Foxconn promises?

What this has created are the “Expendables”. These are homeowners, business owners, and farmers who have “gotten in the way” of the dreams of Racine, Racine County, and Mount Pleasant. They include homeowners in Areas 1-2-3 of the Foxconn Project—land promised by Mount Pleasant to Foxconn—and land Mount Pleasant did not own so thereby seized through threats of blight and eminent domain.

We, the residents along KR, are now poised to join the ranks of the “Expendables”. The County of Racine, in their zeal to cash in on possible future dividends of the shiny Foxconn coin, talked the State of Wisconsin representation into paying $59 million taxpayer dollars for a 2.8 mile stretch of residential Hwy KR, well east of the Foxconn project for purposes of “future economic development”—a section one might add that is ALREADY developed with homes.

Sounds great, right? Yes, UNLESS you own one of the many homes that ALREADY exist along this stretch of KR. Then, you are faced with having your front yards seized through eminent domain, and having your children wait for the school bus along what is designed to be as large as an EIGHT-LANE highway, with high travel speeds.

While the homeowners along KR bought into the widening to 4 lanes, the mammoth footprint ultimately designed by the DOT (think 104 FEET), the residents have repeatedly asked for compromises of a reduced 35 mph speed limit through neighborhoods for safety, and footprint reduction to hopefully save SOME of our property.

7 in 10 drivers occasionally or always drive 15 mph over the speed limit. Therefore, at 60 mph, it takes a driver 304 feet—the length of a football field—to stop. This number increases significantly based on other factors such as size of the vehicle—semis—alcohol, texting, etc.

However, even after hearing our pleas for safety for our children and grandchildren waiting for the bus along this road, 14 Kenosha County Supervisors STILL voted YES for this project. They include Supervisors: Grady, Rose, Gentz, Celebre, Kubicki, Gaschke, O’Day, Berg, Frederick, Franco, Yuhas, Elverman, and Board Chairman, Esposito.

By their Yes vote, it was made clear to their constituents that by completely ignoring our pleas for a reasonable and safe speed limit through densely populated neighborhoods along KR, and by supporting this project with its high-speed highway—our SAFETY and LIVES, along with the safety and lives of our CHILDREN and GRANDCHILDREN, are meaningless to them.

Therefore, we and our families have now joined the ranks of many other families and business owners thus far in Mount Pleasant and Racine/Kenosha Counties already displaced in the name of “Economic Development” and become part of the “Club” known as the “Expendables”.

Property and business owners in Mount Pleasant, Racine, and now Kenosha Counties? If you get in their way, you may be next?