Talks to reach a final agreement about a land swap deal between Sturtevant and Mount Pleasant fell apart Wednesday, putting a potential future development on Highway 11 in jeopardy.
Approved by Sturtevant trustees July 15 after weeks of closed session meetings, the deal would mean Sturtevant grows by 66-1/2 acres, and Mount Pleasant gets sewer and water service to a potential new business who might set up shop on Highway 11 just west of the new UNFI building.
But on Wednesday, Sturtevant Village President Steve Jansen confirmed that a meeting involving officials from both communities, County Executive Jim Ladwig, and Racine County Economic Development Corporation Director Jennie Trick ended abruptly without an agreement.
Jansen said he was beyond disappointed considering how precious commercial growth is to the area and the jobs it brings.
“When every job counts, this is a lost opportunity,” he said.
Mount Pleasant Village President Mark Gleason did not return calls, but Kurt Wahlen, village administrator, told Racine County Eye in an email that an agreement was far from a done deal.
“The Sturtevant Village Board voted and approved an agreement that the Village of Mt. Pleasant considered a work in progress,” he wrote.
Ladwig said that while the meeting didn’t go quite as he’d hoped, he’s optimistic talks can resume soon because of development opportunities on the horizon.
“We have had interest from multiple developers for multiple sites that require intergovernmental agreements,” he continued. “I’m hopeful an agreement can be worked out that’s beneficial to everyone, gets new businesses in here generating tax dollars and creating jobs.”
Racine County Eye phoned several Mount Pleasant trustees to get their feedback on this issue, and we spoke to David DeGroot and Gary Feest.
DeGroot would only say he couldn’t comment on the outcome of the meeting because he didn’t attend.
Feest said he didn’t know anything about a meeting or an agreement under discussion.
“I have been kept completely in the dark,” he said.
But the matter may not be as dead in the water as originally thought. A special Mount Pleasant board meeting has been called for 10 a.m. Tuesday, and the agenda indicates trustees will go into closed session to discuss, “Specifically the Land Use Agreement with the Village of Sturtevant and the potential Sewer Agreement with the Village of Sturtevant.”
In the same email to RCE, Wahlen also said he thinks an agreement can still be reached.
“There are still a couple of issues that need to be resolved. Hopefully, we will be able to resolve the issues at hand and reach an agreement that is a win for both Villages,” he said.