Romulus joins aerotropolis concept

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May 5--The final pieces are falling into place to begin developing an aerotropolis in the sprawling area between Metro Airport in Romulus and Willow Run Airport in Ypsilanti.

The City of Romulus was the latest municipality to sign on to the concept of an aerotropolis -- an industrial development tied to the transportation industry in the region. The Wayne County Commission is to be the last to give its stamp of approval to the project later this month.

Already signed up -- at a cost of $25,000 each, which will be used for marketing the area -- are: the cities of Belleville, Taylor and Ypsilanti; Huron, Van Buren and Ypsilanti townships, and Washtenaw County.

About 60,000 acres in the area are available for development. Business and political leaders say they hope it will become a magnet for companies ranging from logistics to warehousing because of the proximity of the two airports.

Legislation was introduced in the state House last year to create a renaissance zone, which would provide tax incentives for development in the zone. The bills failed to get out of committee.

With all eligible communities in the aerotropolis, it should be attractive as a one-stop shop for meeting requirements such as zoning. Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano said he will work to get the bills reintroduced in Lansing.

"The pieces are now in place for us to begin aggressively moving forward with our vision," he said.

Contact KATHLEEN GRAY: 313-223-4407 or kgray99@freepress.com

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