Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 09:12 pm
With Foxconn Technology Group planning a massive manufacturing campus in Racine County, Milwaukee Alderman Robert Bauman has come up with a few creative ideas to ensure unemployed city residents have an opportunity to work at the plant.
Bauman (who represents the downtown Milwaukee area) is pitching a “satellite city” in the Town of Yorkville, just west of Mount Pleasant where Foxconn is planning to build a $10 billion, 20 million-square-foot LCD panel manufacturing complex just east of I-94, between Braun Road and Highway KR.
To do so, Milwaukee would have to annex land in the town. Not impossible, according to the Milwaukee city attorney’s office, but not without its challenges.
Annexation would require approval of the Milwaukee Common Council, the Town of Yorkville and Racine County, according to the city attorney’s office.
It could be difficult to get Racine County and Yorkville officials to approve an annexation by Milwaukee. Racine County Executive Jonathan Delagrave issued a statement saying he opposes the idea.
“Racine County is actively exploring and considering smart and effective ways to maximize the impact of Foxconn’s development,” Delagrave said. “Annexation of any portion of the county by the City of Milwaukee is not a practical solution and is not in the public interest.”
The town is also in the process of incorporating as a village or a city, which means its land could no longer be annexed. The earliest incorporation can take place is Jan 2, according to the town’s website.
Bauman discussed the annexation and other proposals Tuesday during the city’s Zoning, Neighborhoods and Development Committee. He also questioned officials from Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission about the possibility of mass transit being made a priority with the arrival of Foxconn.
Kevin Muhs, deputy director of SEWRPC, said he is unaware of any mass transit proposals related to the Foxconn project coming forward.
Since first floating the satellite city proposal last month, Bauman has acknowledged annexation would be unlikely. But said the city should continue looking at other options.
“There is no law that we can’t do a joint venture with a private real estate developer like Gorman (Oregon, Wis.-based Gorman & Co.) to acquire real estate (near Foxconn) and develop it into affordable housing.”
Another option would be to transfer the city’s low income housing vouchers to enable Milwaukee residents to live adjacent to the Foxconn factory, Bauman said.
“Personally, I would prefer an investment in public transit,” Bauman said. “But without that, what choice do we have but to move our residents down there?”