MOUNT PLEASANT -- While Gov. Scott Walker signed a $3 billion incentives package Monday for Foxconn Technology Group to build a flat-screen plant in southeastern Wisconsin, residents down the road worry the factory will force them out of their homes.
Homeowners up and down Braun Road between Highway 11 and the Kenosha County line said Monday they see the DNR "wetland delineation" flags as a clue and said they just want more information.
While Foxconn has yet to announce a site for their massive screen manufacturing plant, the property owners along Braun Road said they believe they're living on it. Many said they're worried they'll have to move, and added they're frustrated because neither Foxconn nor the village of Mount Pleasant will answer their questions. Officials at village hall have not returned calls from Fox 6 going back to last week.
Ronald Hoegsted is among those unhappy landowners. The 70-year-old said he's lived at his house with his wife for 33 years. Hoegsted said he's willing to sell his property if offered a little more than the appraised value.
"I think they should pay a little bit more, I would think, seeing as they want it so bad," Hoegsted said, "We don’t wanna sell."
Hoegsted echoed others who said they're most irritated with the lack of transparency about site selection and what it means for those on the affected land.
"Don’t we have a right to know what’s going on?," Hoegsted asked.
The residents said they know something is going on, though. They said a DNR contractor was out last week testing for wetlands and, prior to the Foxconn announcement, some said they were approached by realtors.
For those part of the construction process, the feeling after the bill signing Monday was one of excitement, not anxiety.
"If it's really gonna happen, it's gonna happen in Wisconsin and we're gonna get the chance to be part of the building process. I can tell you that we're looking forward to that," Ken Kraemer, executive director of Building Advantage said.
The state estimates it'll take 10,000 construction jobs to build the Foxconn plant. The mammoth factory would occupy 20 million square feet and command at least 1,000 acres of land for its construction.
Kraemer said between the scope of the project and other major construction projects in the region, out-of-state workers will be needed.
"You're gonna still stay busy building other stuff. You might be working on the arena or maybe the Northwestern apartment complex. You're not gonna quit that job to build Foxconn," Kraemer said.
Wherever they come from, those along Braun Road said they're worried those workers will be building where they live. Tom Devine, a lawyer in Racine, said Monday he now represents 18 different landowners in the area. Devine said, for now, there's nothing those people can do except wait until they know for sure this is the site.
Hoegsted said if he ends up among the affected landowners, he just hopes the sale of his home comes after a legitimate negotiation.
"I think we ought to be able to have a discussion on what we’re gonna get for our property," Hoegsted said, "Instead of them just coming in here and saying what they’re gonna give us."