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General Mitchell businesses try to unite area governments

By Sean Ryan

The association representing businesses around General Mitchell International Airport is trying to unite nine area governments to get money and planning for development in the area.

“If we do this as an area, we’ll all be successful,” said Tom Rave, executive director of the Airport Gateway Business Association.

Rave and the association want to form a nonprofit business called Milwaukee Gateway Aerotropolis Corp. that would attempt to attract businesses to the area around General Mitchell. The nonprofit corporation would collect money from municipalities to draft plans for the area, promote it to businesses and seek state and federal grants for development projects.

“You do an evaluation of how we can develop a residential and commercial transportation hub,” Rave said, “when you look at the railroads and the Port of Milwaukee and the airport and the highways.”

The Gateway business association is asking for representatives of eight area municipalities, Milwaukee County, General Mitchell and the Port of Milwaukee to serve on the nonprofit company’s board, pledge to dedicate city planners’ time to its efforts and raise $5,000 to run the business. The airport business association would dedicate $15,000 to the effort, Rave said. There would also be seats on the board for private developers and World Trade Center Wisconsin.

Milwaukee’s Community and Economic Development Committee on Monday morning will consider committing the city to the effort. Alderman Terry Witkowski, who is supporting joining the new corporation, said the city would try to get a federal grant to pay its share to the nonprofit corporation.

The other seven municipalities are Cudahy, Franklin, Greendale, Greenfield, Oak Creek, South Milwaukee and St. Francis.

“If you do these kinds of things, money will come here,” Rave said, “and you’ve got the jobs.”

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