Last updated on May 14th, 2019 at 12:05 am
There was a time when adult book stores, and the jeeps and tanks from the Kenosha Military Museum lined the west side of Interstate 94 in Pleasant Prairie.
When the village was a town, and its top five property taxpayers were farmers.
Today, with a population just shy of 21,000 people and $3.1 billion in assessed value, Pleasant Prairie has become a model of economic development in the state.
And the land along I-94, once known as a haven for adult bookstores and old military equipment, has now attracted Uline’s 200-acre corporate campus and German gummy bear maker Haribo, which will build its first U.S. manufacturing facility in the village.
A major player in the development and change of Pleasant Prairie has been Village Administrator Mike Pollocoff.
Pollocoff, 63, will retire on May 31 after 32 years leading the village.
“I’ll miss it dearly, but I’m going to get a promotion to citizen and stay in the village,” Pollocoff said. “I’ll be just a phone call away if they need any history or advice.”
Pollocoff said incorporating Pleasant Prairie into a village in 1989, was one of his greatest accomplishments. By doing so, economic development and financial planning could begin to happen, he said.
The development of LakeView Corporate Park with Wispark LLC, the RecPlex and IcePlex recreation centers, Pleasant Prairie Premium Outlets and continued ability to attract companies to the village, have occurred under Pollocoff’s leadership.
“I worked with Mike for 29 of his 32 years so we grew up together,” said Jerry Franke, the president of Wispark LLC. “First and foremost, he is a patient guy with a good demeanor. He is also a good strategic planner who figures out what he wants to achieve and gets it done.”
Pollocoff credits strong partnerships with Wispark, the Kenosha Area Business Alliance, Kenosha County and the village board with the success of Pleasant Prairie. And also, the village’s location.
“We took advantage of our good location and have really made it work for us,” he said.
Pollocoff’s has two adult children. His wife retired about five years ago, and the two are ready to begin traveling.
“I’ve really been happy and lucky to practice my profession in such a good community with such good leadership,” Pollocoff said. “There is good leadership at the management level and with the Village Board. The board hasn’t been partisan and we have been able to get a lot done.”
On Monday, the Pleasant Prairie Village Board named current assistant village administrator Thomas Shircel interim administrator for six months while a nationwide search is done for Pollocoff’s replacement.
Shircel has been assistant village administrator in Pleasant Prairie since January of 2010.
“Mr. Shircel is a very capable professional who will manage village operations while we renew the selection process,” said Village President John Steinbrink. “Tom will enjoy the same support of a highly trained and competent management team that has assisted Mike during his time in Pleasant Prairie.”