Janesville43.4°

Edgerton sorry to see companies leave town

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Stacy Vogel
September 30, 2009
— Edgerton celebrated when two businesses moved into the empty warehouse that once housed Dorsey Trailer.

So eight years later, the city is sad to see those businesses leave, taking 50 jobs with them, Mayor Erik Thompson said.


"There really is no positive for the city," Thompson said. "You lose another business that chooses to go somewhere else. It's unfortunate because we invested a lot of money into that business."


Last week, the owners of Green-Tek and its sister company, Coextruded Plastic Technologies, announced they were moving into the former Lear Corp. building in Janesville after a bitter dispute with Jim Grafft, the owner of their Edgerton building.


"It's heartbreaking," Green-Tek co-owner Paul Jacobson said. "We really don't want to leave Edgerton."


Edgerton created a tax incremental financing district in 2000 so it could extend a loan to the companies to help renovate the building. A state brownfield grant helped clean up the site and move a sewer line running under the building.


The companies' agreement with the city stipulates they must pay back the remainder of the TIF loan—in this case $546,000—within 90 days of moving out of the TIF district, City Administrator Ramona Flanigan said.


Jacobson said he couldn't comment on the loan and the companies' responsibilities because he hasn't talked to his attorney yet.


"Our plan is to deal fairly with the city given the very difficult circumstances we find ourselves in," he said.


Edgerton did everything it could to keep Green-Tek and CPT in Edgerton, Thompson said. The city offered to extend the loan if the companies moved into the former Caterpillar plant on the other side of town, he said.


The companies seriously considered the Caterpillar plant, owned by Hendricks Development Group, Jacobson said. But it would have needed about $1 million in renovations to serve the companies' needs, and they still would only be renters, he said.


It didn't make sense to build new with so many empty industrial buildings available, so they decided to buy the former Lear building, he said.


The companies will move gradually to the Lear building over the next six to eight weeks, Jacobson said. Their lease with Grafft expires Nov. 30.


Grafft told the Gazette last week he might use the Dorsey building for the engine division of Tecumseh Power Co., which Grafft bought earlier this year and recently located on Jackson Street in Janesville. He couldn't be reached for comment Tuesday.



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