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Foxconn's manufacturing plan pleases local leaders, but some residents still aren't sold

Posted at 6:03 PM, Mar 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-18 19:12:33-04

Foxconn is doubling down on its commitment to manufacture LCD screens in Racine County, announcing it will break ground on a manufacturing facility this summer.

Foxconn said its first manufacturing plant will employ 1,500 people. Local leaders are pleased this means manufacturing will be part of Foxconn’s plans in Racine County, but some residents still aren’t sold on the company.

In just a few months, the large multi-purpose building on Foxconn’s Mount Pleasant campus will no longer stand alone as the company plans to construct a sprawling manufacturing facility to make small LCD screens. Rich Sholzen hopes it’s a sign Foxconn will succeed.

“It would help the economy around here and build up the city and a lot of work for people,” he said.

Katherine Foster of Racine remains skeptical after months of mixed signals whether the Taiwanese company would stick to its promise of manufacturing in Wisconsin.

“A lot of mixed emotions from what I’m seeing and hearing,” Foster said. “When we see it, we’ll believe it.”

Racine County Executive Jonathan Delagrave admits he was anxious to see what Foxconn had in store for the first phase of its $10 billion project. He’s satisfied in knowing manufacturing is part of the equation.

“Manufacturing was the key component here, and that’s why we’re so excited,” he said.

“A lot of mixed emotions from what I’m seeing and hearing. When we see it, we’ll believe it.” — Katherine Foster of Racine

Delagrave said that’s because he believes manufacturing will have a ripple effect by bringing other suppliers to the area.

Foxconn said the building is known as a Generation 6 factory, which usually makes display screens for smaller devices. Foxconn originally said it would build a Generation 10.5 facility for larger screens. Foxconn said the shake-up came after economic uncertainty for those products in the United States.

“They’re the experts in this area that know what the market can support, and if Gen. 6 has a greater amount of market opportunity albeit we’re happy as long as the core things for Racine County are covered,” said Jenny Trick, the Racine County Economic Development Corp. executive director.

Foxconn’s manufacturing plant is expected to be up and running by the end of 2020.