The Village of Mount Pleasant is moving forward with preparations and preliminary work for the coming Foxconn development.
The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) is still negotiating the final contract between the state and the Taiwan-based technology manufacturer for the record-breaking manufacturing facility slated for Mount Pleasant. In the meantime, the village board has approved a spate of contracts in preparation for the development.
Specifically, the contracts are with a variety of appraisal and assessment services to help village officials navigate the waters of eminent domain should property owners hold out against selling to make way for FoxConn. Several homeowners along Braun Road have been approached about selling their properties, but official offers to purchase haven’t yet been extended.
Marcuvitz said there are two more firms the village is planning to take on, but they have yet to finalize the contracts.
Those contracted by the village as of Monday night are:
- The Sigma Group, Inc. for environmental and site assessments
- Real Estate Underwriting Services for appraisal review
- Single Source Inc. for appraisal services
- G.J. Miesbauer & Associates, Inc. for relocation services
- Pitts Brothers & Associates LLC for appraisal services
- The Nicholson Group LLC for appraisal engagement letter
- Terra Ventures for property management.
Alan Marcuvitz, an attorney working for the village, said he expects the agreement between the WEDC and Foxconn to be signed by early November.
“I believe the latest date the state will come to a final executed agreement is Nov. 8,” he said.
These contractors will be paid through a $10 million grant from the state, Marcuvitz added.
Trustee Gary Feest was skeptical of the village’s move to hire so many appraisal firms. He said it appeared there wouldn’t be enough quality firms left for residents to hire privately.
Marcuvitz said there are still plenty of firms in the Racine and Kenosha area. Also, he said, there are different property types, like business, agricultural, residential, that require multiple firms to be brought on.
“These are different specialties requiring different attention,” he said.
Another factor, Marcuvitz said, is the speed required for the appraisal process. The village will need to appraise multiple properties at a time.
The village is still waiting for the agreement between WEDC and Foxconn to be hammered out before they can begin their appraisal process. This leaves Mount Pleasant in a precarious position where they are not allowed, legally, to make offers on homes in the project area. But, the village can accept offers from homeowners looking to sell. And Monday night, the board purchased a home on Braun Road under these circumstances for $192,000.
Road maintenance agreement
Mount Pleasant was the first public body to vote on an agreement between the village, Racine County and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) for road work around the area of the future Foxconn development.
The agreement outlines how both the village and county will temporarily transfer jurisdiction of several roads and highways over to the state for improvements necessary to accommodate the anticipated traffic the massive plant will bring to the area before, during and after construction. Once the work is completed, the roads will be returned to the appropriate municipality. The agreement stipulates that the state must finish all improvements by 2021.
Per the terms of the agreement, the state will take on the entire cost of constructing all the roads outlined in the agreement, Marcuvitz explained.
These roads include, Highway H between Highways 20 and KR; Highway KR between 90th Street and the West Frontage Road; International Drive between Highways 20 and 11; and Braun Road between 90th Street and the East Frontage Road.
The project plan, approved last week, had $11.5 million for road repairs. The village will instead turn that money over to the state. Doing it this way, Marcuvitz said, relieves the village of the burden of potential cost overruns related to the project.