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Housing Summit In Racine County Focuses On Foxconn-Related Needs

Summit Brings Government Officials, Developers Together

Municipal representatives from Racine County and developers get the chance to discuss development opportunities Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018. Ximena Conde/ WPR

Racine County and the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority are trying to address a housing shortage a new Foxconn manufacturing facility in the Village of Mount Pleasant is expected to exacerbate.

Taiwanese manufacturer Foxconn has pledged 13,000 jobs and a $10 billion investment.

While the company has set up its North American headquarters in downtown Milwaukee, Racine County leaders expect the bulk of Foxconn employees to move within county limits and they want to be ready.

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Racine County Board members were told more than 10,000 units would be needed in the region earlier this summer.

Racine County and the economic development agency hosted a housing summit Wednesday in Racine, drawing municipal leaders and developers.

“It’s really about aligning resources, getting people in the same room, showing off municipalities here in Racine County about what housing opportunities there may be or will be in the near future and getting an array or mix of housing for all people whether its rentals or condos or single homes,” said Racine County Executive Jonathan Delagrave.

He said not being prepared could lead to rising housing costs.

That’s because according to a Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Committee housing plan, there’s a specific need for affordable housing and housing diversity.

Benjamin McKay, chief community assistance planner for the committee, cited 2005-2009 census data and said almost 26,000 Racine County households spent more than the recommended 30 percent of their income on housing. McKay said that can lead to trouble paying for other needs like transportation.

Delagrave said an important step right now is for municipalities to showcase their development opportunities.

Several villages were able to do just that Wednesday in a housing opportunity fair.

“We’re here to say Rochester would be a wonderful place to develop,” said Betty Novy, clerk-treasurer for the Village of Rochester, one of the represented municipalities.

Structured like a job fair, village representatives came armed with zoning maps, list of contacts and fees associated with future development.