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Setting the foundation

Officials with Mills Fleet Farm, joined by Gov. Scott Walker, break ground Friday, May 19, 2017 on the company’s new distribution center at the Lake Wissota Business Park in Chippewa Falls. 

Chippewa County’s biggest economic story of the year is the state’s ninth largest of 2017.

Gov. Scott Walker’s office on Tuesday listed the Mills Fleet Farm distribution center being built in Lake Wissota Business Park in Chippewa Falls as the ninth largest economic development project in the state this year.

The Mills Fleet Farm project has an estimated cost of $71.7 million and is expected to create 284 jobs. The distribution center is expected to fully open early next year.

The top ten list include: Foxconn Technology Group, $10 billion; Kwik Trip expansion, $309 million; Haribo of America, $220 million; Epicentre Technologies Corp., $148 million; Saputo Cheese, $90 million; Generac Power Systems Inc., $87 million Brakebush Brothers, Inc., $86 million; Great Lakes Cheese Com., $85 million; Mills Fleet Farm; and MilliporeSigma, $64 million.

Most of the projects are expansions. Some, such as Foxconn, are for a new manufacturing plant.

The WEDC said 59 companies from Wisconsin and from around the world are taking part in projects.

“At the same time, many of Wisconsin’s major employers—including Kwik Trip, Generac, Mills Fleet Farm and Johnsonville—announced major expansion plans this year because of our dedicated workforce and the strong pro-business climate we’ve created,” the governor said in a press release.

Under the deal struck earlier this year, Chippewa Falls will provide $10 million in tax increment financing to the project: $7.3 million in a grant, $1.29 million for the land purchase and the remainder in sewer, water, and stormwater extensions.

DHL is required to have at least 239 full-time employees by Sept. 1, 2018, and at least 325 full-time workers after five years. The agreement says hourly wages must be at least $15.60 an hour.

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