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Polaris Industries to expand Osceola engine plant

OSCEOLA, Wis. (Wheeler News Service) -- 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 today that Polaris -- a leading maker of recreational vehicles -- is expanding its engine assembly plant at Osceola, along the Minnesota border in Polk County.  

A one-and-three-quarter 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-thousand dollars.  That's after a 2012 project that was designed to create 89 jobs -- which offered tax credits of almost 600-thousand dollars 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 re-structuring 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.