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by Heather Asiyanbi

Bliffert Lumber and the Village of Sturtevant are in negotiation over a financial incentive package the company requested to help them finish rehabbing their location on Durand Avenue.

Village President Steve Jansen said the village is thrilled to see Bliffert bustling so soon after it moved in earlier this fall, and their request is exactly what a redevelopment project should look like.

“Think about it; they come in and take over an existing property and now they’re trying to improve it to grow and hire people from around here,” he told Racine County Eye Friday. “Being able to extend the money would be a good use of those funds because (Bliffert) is right on Highway 11 at the entrance to the village.”

Company officials originally asked for $75,000, but final numbers will come in closer to $50,000. Story Manager Ray Weisenbeck said the money would be used on the exterior to replace the roof, improve the fence and landscaping and address the water damage to the floor inside.

“The building was in more disarray than we thought,” he said. “There’s more work to do than we planned.”

Financial incentive packages are typically tied to job creation, and this situation would be no different. Weisenbeck said Bliffert’s Sturtevant location has around 12 full time employees now, but is looking to expand to around 20 in the next couple of years.

Bliffert is located inside the village’s tax incremental financing district, making them eligible for this type of incentive package.

There is a wrinkle in the works, though. Bliffert is occupying the site on a rent-to-own lease, but Trustee Chris Wright thinks that some of the money could help facilitate a faster purchase.

“Maybe we can help them purchase the building faster,” he suggested.

Jansen is optimistic the parties can come to agreeable terms.

“Bliffert is a good company run by people who believe in the people they hire,” he said. “They’ll be great village residents for years to come so I’m sure we can get something worked out.”