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David Degroot censuredThe question of where Foxconn Technology Group will locate in Racine County burns in the belly of many in Mount Pleasant and a recent trip to Japan by village President Dave DeGroot is turning up the heat.

DeGroot left last Monday morning for Osaka and came back Friday. He said the trip was strictly village business.

“We went to vet and do some due diligence regarding the potential Foxconn development,” he said.

This news comes about a week after Wisconsin State Representative Peter Barca told a reporter from TMJ4 that the plant was coming to Mount Pleasant.

Rumors have been swirling for months about the location of the plant, many of them pointing to Mount Pleasant. The trip, which cost the village more than $2,000 in airfare for DeGroot, was not announced until the Village Board meeting Monday after he returned.

DeGroot said he had business meetings with the company and went on plant tours and visited firms in the company’s supply chain.

On the Foxconn development, DeGroot said, “We’ll be able to say more forthcoming.” Adding, “ I get people are frustrated but we got confidentialities, we got non-disclosure agreements.”

Residents have been expressing frustration and anger at village board meetings over the past month as they grapple with the uncertainty Foxconn has wrought on the community. Even village board trustees feel in the dark about the potential development.

Trustee Gary Feest said, “I’m concerned that we’re being painted into a corner. But what my hope is is that my fears will be unfounded. So, just stay tuned, cross your fingers let’s hope that everything works for the best interest not just of Mount Pleasant but residents.”

Trustee Ken Otwaska addressed Peter Barca’s statement from a week ago saying, “  don’t know it’s in Mount Pleasant.”

But the stress of uncertainty is far more intense for some residents. Like Pat Petersen and her husband Jack, who own a farm on Braun Road that has been in the family for more than 100 years. Their land is in the zone near Braun Road that has been highlighted as a potential spot for the plant.

“I used to be a happy well adjusted person until Foxconn came into our lives a few months ago now I’m filled with anxiety and cry all the time,” Petersen said.

Petersen said the memories she associates with her farm trump money. She simply doesn’t want to lose her family home.

“Farmland is way too precious, especially nowadays,” she said.

She also admonished the village board to hold public information meetings for residents that might be impacted by the potential development, instead of leaving them to rely on “rumors.”

“You’re going about this in all the wrong way,” she said.

Foxconn: Wisconn Valley By The Numbers

Foxconn: Wisconn Valley By The Numbers

Foxconn: Wisconn Valley By The Numbers

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