In front of a packed City Council meeting, the Racine Common Council voted unanimously to approve the sale of a portion of Pierce Woods Park to Fischer USA for an expansion project, according to a story by the Journal Times.
Fischer USA Inc., a division of a larger company that makes high-speed spindles, plans to build a $3 million 10,000 square-foot addition to its current building. Located at 3715 Blue River Avenue in Racine, Fischer USA plans to buy 32,000 square feet of Pierce Woods Park, which is located at 3616 Pierce Boulevard.
According to a press release from RCEDC, the land purchase is critical to the project because Fischer USA has already been fully built out at its current location. Almost 40 people spoke about the project, but overwhelmingly those who spoke supported the project. However, a petition with 620 signatures of those was turned into the Common Council.
Ryan Brath, president and chief operating officer at Fischer USA, said the company worked with the city on the project. The land has about 13 trees on the site, but the company may not have to cut down all of them for the project. The company plans to also plant two trees for each one that is removed, and will put in a ground swale if needed.
“We appreciate the City’s support in our company’s expansion project. Our company strives to be a good neighbor and corporate citizen. It is our goal to continue our presence and investment in the City of Racine,” according to a press release
“People really recognize the value of the jobs and appreciate that we’re committed to staying in Racine,” Brath told the Journal Times.
Still, Amanda Kivenas, who lives near the park, spoke against the sale.
“I am not at all surprised of the outcome, I am just disappointed,” she said. “I feel the Parks/Recreation board failed in upholding their mission statement. However, I am proud of my neighbors and our citizens for standing up and voicing their opinions, no matter what side of the fence they were on.
“My children were present at the meeting and it helped show them what a democracy is. I am thankful we could be a part of it.”
The company also plans to hire 20 new employees over the next 15 years.