InSinkErator, the nation’s largest manufacturer of garbage disposals, is about to undertake a $65 million expansion project that includes adding 165 employees, modernizing its existing plant in Racine, and building new production lines in an empty building in neighboring Kenosha.
The new production would have gone to Racine had there been a suitable empty building to house it in. Racine Mayor John Dickert is nevertheless pleased that his city will retain about 1,000 InSinkErator jobs, and figures the Kenosha expansion will benefit Racine in the long run.
“My first goal is retention,” said Dickert. “Making sure our employees stay here – that’s what we’re doing. And then working with the company to expand them even larger so they have a bigger footprint all over the region.”
Dickert and Racine County Executive Jim Ladwig have been working to identify new sites for industrial development and build the supporting infrastructure, but the effort has been slowed by the existence of brownfields, expensive land prices, and various other challenges.
Ladwig, however, sees progress.
“I think in the next year or two, you’re going to see a real economic boom along the I-94 corridor through Racine County,” said Ladwig.
Racine has the highest joblessness among the state’s urban areas, with an unemployment rate last month of 10.2 percent.