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Polaris announces second major expansion in past 3 years

OSCEOLA, WI (WTAQ) - A plant in northwest Wisconsin that was on the chopping block in 2010 is now about to start on its second major expansion in three years.  

Governor Scott Walker said Thursday that Polaris -- a leading maker of recreational vehicles -- is expanding its engine assembly plant at Osceola in Polk County.  

A $1.75 million dollar expansion will allow the production of more Polaris Pro-Star engine platforms. It would increase the plant's engine capacity by 40 percent.  

The Republican Walker said the project will add 60 new jobs and retain 200 others. If the jobs are added in three years, Polaris will get a tax break of $234,000. That's after a 2012 project that was designed to create 89 jobs -- which offered tax credits of almost $600,000 then.

Walker praised the company at the time for choosing Wisconsin instead of proposed locations in Iowa and Minnesota.

It was only four years ago when Polaris announced a restructuring in which it was planning to close the Osceola plant, lay off 515 workers, and move some of its production to Mexico. The move angered politicians.  

Former Congressman David Obey called it "unpatriotic." The plant never did close. A year after the announcement, Polaris said it would keep about 50 jobs there.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)