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Aerotropolis goes to Milwaukee County Board

The Milwaukee County Transportation, Public Works and Transit committee approved a resolution Wednesday supporting Milwaukee’s Gateway Aerotropolis collaborative planning efforts.

The 4-2 vote brings the measure before the entire County Board at its Sept. 30 meeting. If approved, Milwaukee County would join eight other local government boards that already approved legislation supporting the aerotropolis concept, including the city of Milwaukee, Cudahy, Franklin, Greendale, Greenfield, Oak Creek, South Milwaukee and St. Francis.

The Milwaukee Gateway Aerotropolis Corp. seeks to form a nonprofit business responsible for marketing the area surrounding General Mitchell International Airport.

Tom Rave, executive director of the Airport Gateway Business Association, said the group will initially focus on planning efforts and governing bodies will primarily have controlling interest, although several private partners will also serve on the board.

Supervisors Chris Larson, Patricia Jursik and Marina Dimitrijevic sponsored the resolution, stressing how important it is the county capitalizes on the ongoing passenger growth recently seen at General Mitchell.

“The good-news story in this county is the airport,” Jursik said. “Not only is it the fasting growing airport in the Midwest, but now the nation.”

The two dissenting votes were cast by supervisor John Weishan and committee chairman Michael Mayo.

Weishan criticized the aerotropolis group for its lack of existing bylaws and membership requirements, but Rave insisted no such document can be drafted until the organization’s first meeting scheduled for Oct. 12.

Nonetheless, Weishan said he still found the group’s efforts counterproductive.

“The fact the area around the airport has had success without this group, I find it kind of strange we think adding another layer of bureaucracy is somehow going to drive additional development,” Weishan said. “We have enough people going to meetings. We need people who are going to get something done.”

— Joe Lanane

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