At least that's what Hitters founder and President, RJ Fergus, is telling the Racine Journal-Times. In a September 29th article, Fergus made news in Racine by commenting that he has decided to ditch plans in Franklin and instead focus on expanding in their current community of Caledonia. Why is Fergus making this call? Because Franklin "was not receptive" to Hitters' plans.
Fergus said he ruled out Franklin because the city was not receptive to a Hitters Academy at Fergus's proposed site...
Fergus will explore buying land immediately north of the academy from Nielsen Building Systems and adding two indoor Little League fields, plus parking. He hopes to have some plans in about a month.
For outdoor play, Fergus said the academy will continue to rent ball fields from Home Run Heaven at Interstate 94 and Highway 11.
A reader of Franklin Today put it this way:
Wasn't (being receptive to businesses) the whole point of the Mayor's Ad Hoc Committee? Well if it's true THANK YOU Franklin for chasing away yet another project. One that would have been a huge addition to the City.
As noted in a past live blog, Hitters ran across some issues with the DNR in regards to where they wanted to build their Franklin academy. From what I gathered, the DNR wasn't allowing Hitters to build all four baseball diamonds, but rather only three. This hurdle apparently was a major one, and from the looks of it perhaps Hitters wanted some lobbying of the DNR done by the City of Franklin. I don't have high expectations that the city lifted a finger to help out, since Fergus told the Journal-Times that Franklin "was not receptive".
When Fergus and Hitters came before the council earlier this year, aldermen strongly suggested they seek a different site. The issue with Hitters was that the land they were building on came at no cost, and the academy was going to be entirely funded by private donors. Essentially, it was a win-win for them.
It is unfortunate to see that hurdles and quite possibly little-to-no city support caused this Journal-Times article to be published, and Franklin's likely loss is now Caledonia's gain.