North Country
3:55 pm
Thu January 12, 2012

Wisconsin Tries to Lure Aircraft Company Away From Maine - and Berlin

A newspaper in Duluth, Minn. is reporting that Wisconsin officials have offered Kestrel Aircraft land for an assembly plant, a move that could greatly reduce the chances Kestrel would make parts in Berlin.

But in a telephone interview Thursday afternoon Kate Doughtery, a spokeswoman for Kestrel, told NHPR that no decision has been made on the plant's location.

Last year it looked like Kestrel, a new start-up company, would build the aircraft in Maine.

Alan Klapmeier, its founder, told NHPR at that time that assembling the aircraft in Maine made building parts for the lightweight, composite body in nearby Berlin attractive.

That would bring hundreds of high-tech jobs to Berlin, he said.

But Wisconsin has been lobbying hard for Kestrel to locate there, offering lots of incentives.

The Duluth News Tribune says Wisconsin officials recently approved an agreement that would allow the sale of about 13 acres of land to Kestrel.

“Under the terms of that agreement, Kestrel would first construct, beginning as early as June 1, a 35,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in the Winter Street Industrial Park,” the newspaper reported in its story which fell short of saying Kestrel had agreed to the deal. (http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/event/article/id/219574/).