November 13, 2003 at 10:08 a.m.
Polaris CEO Tom Tiller said 12 proposals were investigated for the project and then he listed several reasons why the Wyoming property got the nod. According to Tiller --its proximity to all Polaris domestic operations, local highway access, site terrain, a quality workforce and state incentives combined to put the Wyoming location at the top of the list.
The local grapevine has been a-buzz about Polaris for weeks.
Jurisdictions involved-- ranging from Wyoming City and Township, to our state lawmakers, from the county board, to local school boards; have all been discussing the Polaris plan and taking official actions to allow for Polaris to come. (See sidebar on incentives.)
Plans were being laid weeks ago to have the county road relocated around the facility site, and to apply for state and federal funds to make that happen.
Wyoming representatives have been working towards closing the nearly-at capacity wastewater treatment facility and joining the Chisago Lakes Joint Sewage Treatment Commission. With proceeds from Polaris buying the 600-plus acres, the city will have funds to cover pipeline costs to the CLJSTC plant north of Chisago City.
Chisago County Housing and Redevelopment Authority Executive Director Chris Eng has made appearances in board rooms and council chambers building consensus for the project, explaining tax impact and project costs and in general pulling everyone into the process.
Eng said the Polaris announcement sets a new series of efforts in motion here.
Wyoming wastewater holding ponds and the spray irrigation system will begin to be replaced with a new sewer line, planned to be laid as soon as the frost goes out in the spring.
Over winter, Eng said, there will be as much spray capacity used as allowed under regulations. This will draw down the levels of holding ponds and build capacity for storage as spraying area needs to be reduced.
Eng said the actual Polaris R and D building is being constructed on the north side of the county road. Spray fields there will have to stop being used when the building project gets underway. Hopefully, the Joint Chisago Lakes Sewage Treatment plant will be accessed by the new pipeline and wastewater from Wyoming will be traveling to the CLJSTC plant, within a few months.
County Road 84 will likely become cul-de-sacs at either end; as the new public road link is built south of where #84 now sits and that road becomes access to the Polaris site only.
Jobs placement and interested applicants are being dealt with by Polaris,
Eng said the company website polarisindustries.com has a jobs link for the new facility that all prospective employees should see.
Polaris is aware of plans for the county bike trail in the vicinity of the facility and Eng said there’s no concern about losing that connection for the trail from Wyoming to Chisago City.
County Board Chairman Ben Montzka, whose district is where Polaris will locate, stated, “Chisago County has a young and vibrant workforce, unfortunately most are spending about two hours a day on the road. The jobs that Polaris brings will certainly improve the way of life for many. The Polaris decision will show that not only is Chisago County a great place to live, it is a great place to work.”
Commissioner Lora Walker, (her district abuts the site), thanked Governor Pawlenty for his leadership. Job growth initiatives promoted via his administration are appreciated, Commissioner Walker added.
Construction on the site begins in 2004. The project will take about one year to complete. The facility is 100,000 square feet. It will house engineering, designers and development personnel for all terrain vehicles, Victory motorcycles and personal watercraft.
CEO Tiller said, “New products have been the lifeblood of Polaris. The key to making high quality products starts with having high quality people and high quality facilities.”