October 20, 2009

Big news out of 'Green Racine' meeting at Gateway

Some gnood ews came out of a "Green Racine" business meeting at Gateway Technical College today. Let's recap a few stories:

1. Mick Burke at the JT is reporting a Chinese company is looking to build an "eco-business park" in Mount Pleasant.

2. Mayor John Dickert announced he was close to luring a company that uses recycled tires to make shingles, according to Burke. The unnamed company would bring 88 jobs to Racine.

3. Burke and WRJN's Janet Hoff also reported Tuesday about the meeting itself, which was designed to inspire and encourage local companies to act more "green." Here's the JT story, along with a sidebar on five steps toward sustainability. And WRJN's story.

New jobs and a cleaner environment ... not bad!


  1. Funny that there is a Green Racine h podcast and blog.Someone owns two web addresses too. Someone else owns the .com Gateway or RCEDC should maybe buy the domains be easier then being sued

  2. "Friedel said the city must first acquire the building so it can offer it to the prospective employer. The intention is to offer the building at no cost, he and Trick said.

    Friedel said it's a complicated deal and there are reasons the company cannot buy the building directly.

    However, he and Trick both seemed confident the deal should come together soon.

    Coincidentally, Dickert also said he is trying to lure to Racine another company - which he said he could not name - that reuses old tires. He said the California company uses old tires to make the material that will form the city's new handicap-accessible beach walkway at North Beach.

    Dickert said he's promised to give them a manufacturing site right along the railroad tracks if they come here."


    Giving away buildings. Is this the new standard?

  3. And the lot on West Racine must be sold ASAP because the City needs the money? WTF

  4. "Giving away buildings. Is this the new standard?"

    As with all things, it depends on the situation. Let's say it is a building worth $250,000. Let's say the 88 jobs avg $10/hour.

    The $250,000 investment would bring $1.8M in annual payroll to the area, in addition to the other impacts: shipping jobs, business to business materials and services purchased in the area, and tax revenues. I don't know what the operating costs on an 88 job factory are, but it would probably be a safe guess they are over $200,000.

    So, the city invests $250,000 to get $2M in annual economic impact. Not bad if you ask me. Even if the building is worth more than that, it is still a good deal.

    Everyone is screaming for jobs - this is how you get it done. Some say we only need to have lower taxes and the businesses would flock. If you say income taxes, then I would agree. Property taxes are another story. If a business has $500k in property (building and assets), they pay the city about $5,500 per year. Even if you cut taxes by %50 - which you can't do without getting rid of so many things that no one would come here - they only save $2,250/year. The company would have to enjoy that same tax rate for 11 years to make up for the free building.

    So, if people can bring jobs here - then I would say free buildings should be in the arsenal.

    Of course, this depends on the sort of job you are dealing with. You wouldn't want to give someone a free building so they can hire part time waitresses, stock boys, and counter staff. But, if they were going to hire people full time to manufacture something, then you want to consider it.

  5. You'd be surprised what an economic impact a "good" restaurant can have.

    I kinda chuckled when I was watching the Mayor on TV courting that Bloom guy with the Jesus books.

    26 jobs at $8.00 an hour and the guy is treated like a saint. (pun intended)

    Average server wage in a good restaurant is around $30.00 an hour. Bussers $12.00, bartenders $20.00.

    You shouldn't be so quick to look down your nose at us poor restaurant folk.

  6. We need the industries to come here. I don't think someone should be able to run out and lay claim to Green Racine. Does this person have anything to do with the city? Besides just being a greedy?

  7. Anon 8:47 that's a very simplistic way of looking at it. You should consider what the city has invested in that property not only to purchase it but to clean it up, maintain it, and the tax revenue it has not collected.

  8. Does mats for North beach ring a bell ? Buying $50,000 worth. Like the red metal art ? How much land does the city now own ? In West Racine, on State St.,forclosed houses,industrial park ? We need to get out of the realestate business. Industrial property only pays a small % of property taxes. Don't forget the TIF's

  9. Anon 8:47

    How about giving me something for KEEPING jobs here?

    I would love the same deal the Christian book guy got. I busted my ass to pay the bank for this bldg. Will the city give me an equal amount of money if I stay here for 4 more years????

  10. The steps toward a sustainable city are great. This is definitely a positive step for the city. Blending environmental consciousness and economic development is key.

    We should be proud of our city.

  11. You know I seem to remember Madonna or someone suing someone for registering her name. Doesn't seem right that some one can threaten the city with a lawsuit for using Green Racine. Do they own a Green business they have registered and licensed in the city of Racine before today?

  12. As Kermit would sing " its not easy being green."