Superior Closes Chapter on Failed Kestrel Plant

City Council votes to dissolve Tax Increment Financing District they created for the project

SUPERIOR, Wis. – The City of Superior has officially moved on from the failed Kestrel Project.

The proposed airplane manufacturing company was supposed to bring a big economic boom to the city and create hundreds of permanent jobs but the business never came.

The Superior City Council voted unanimously to dissolve a Tax Increment Financing District they created for the Kestrel project in 2012.

City officials say they’ve known for a while Kestrel would not be built but now they’ve officially closed the door on the plant coming to Superior.

To bring the 50,000 square foot facility to Superior near the Richard I. Bong Airport, they city took out a $1.3 million loan.

According to Mayor Jim Paine, the city now has the funding taken care of to pay off that loan without raising taxes on Superior residents.

Though the failed Kestrel project is disappointing for all involved, Mayor Paine is happy it’s in the past and says the future of Superior looks brighter without Kestrel.

“There was always this feeling that we could recapture the economy of the 1950s and bring in that big fish that would save us all,” said Paine. “What we now know about the economy of small cities like Superior is they just don’t succeed that way in the twenty-first century, you succeed by creating a diverse economy focused on local retail, small manufacturing, tourism outdoor economies.”

Earlier this year, the City of Superior joined with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation to pursue legal action against Kestrel, trying to recover the loan money from city, county and state governments that Kestrel defaulted on.

Mayor Paine says the city has now learned its lesson and won’t make deals like the Kestrel project in the future.

The mayor is now focused on bringing small manufacturing, transportation, and retail economy jobs to Superior.

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