100 Years As Engine Plant, Kenosha Acquires Land

KENOSHA, Wis. (AP) -- The city of Kenosha is acquiring the property that is the centerpiece of the community's auto manufacturing history.

The City Council, in a special meeting Monday night, accepted the title for the land, which includes more than 100 acres in Kenosha, where auto making began in 1902.

The city and state agencies will spend $30 million to clean up the vacant manufacturing site where the Chrysler engine plant once stood. The buildings have been raised, but city administrator Frank Pacetti tells the Kenosha News there's "tons and tons" of concrete that needs to be removed, among other things.

Mayor Keith Bosman said there are no firm plans for the site but that he envisions a business park. City officials estimated it will take five to seven years to clean up the property.

"We want to move as fast as we can. I would like to say we can get the site cleaned up before five years," Bosman said. "If you look at Harbor Park, it took six years to clean up, and it was only 50 to 60 acres. So we have twice the problem."

The Kenosha Engine plant was acquired by Chrysler with its purchase of American Motors Corp., in 1987. The factory, which once employed 1,300, was closed in 2010 when the number of employees had dropped below 600.

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