KEVIN BEEKMAN, RIGHT, of Alliance Laundry Systems tells Ripon teachers in October 2018 about some testing equipment Alliance uses at its R&D facility. 		        Ian Stepleton photo
KEVIN BEEKMAN, RIGHT, of Alliance Laundry Systems tells Ripon teachers in October 2018 about some testing equipment Alliance uses at its R&D facility. Ian Stepleton photo

     Last week’s news that Alliance Laundry Systems plans to open a manufacturing facility in Manitowoc is bittersweet.  

     But more sweet than bitter.

     At first glance, the appliance-laundry manufacturer’s plan to open a production plant in a city a 95-minute drive away from its headquarters seems like a lost opportunity for its hometown.

     Consider the revenue the city could have accrued had Alliance again planted its flag here in Washingtown: More property tax dollars to repair our roads, more spending at local stores, more per-pupil aid in our public schools and more folks to serve our city as volunteers, elected officials, church members and in other capacities.  

     Now those benefits will go to the good people of Manitowoc ...

     But what’s to celebrate about Alliance expanding into Manitowoc?

     Only this: It indicates the company’s penchant for growth and unwillingness to be harnessed by geography or manpower. ...

     This is a better answer than Juarez, Mexico, where more than 300 “maquiladoras” provide their foreign owners with lower costs via tax benefits, proximity to large markets and available labor.

     And it’s preferable to Youngstown, Ohio (6.1% unemployment); Gary, Indiana (6.6%); Flint, Mich. (8.5% unemployment);   and other rust-belt cities decimated by the decline of the auto, steel and coal industries.

     The closer Ripon’s satellites are to its hub, the stronger the hub and the more valuable it becomes to its home community. ...
            
                                   — Tim Lyke

     To read the entire column, see the April 18, 2019 edition of The Ripon Commonwealth Press.