Dear Editor,

It is my firm belief there was a missed opportunity for economic growth in Menominee County regarding the airport layout plan. Menominee County is an area famished for economic growth and it seems the community would be better served by exploring other options rather than having the Michigan Department of Transportation resurfacing the shorter crosswind runway. The $20,000 available in escrow had a time limit for the end of April to be used or it would be lost.

Commissioner Larry Phelps suggested an option that included releasing parcels on the southern end of the Menominee Regional Airport that would facilitate the possibility of developing an industrial park or maybe a distribution center. The land already has a 10-inch capped water main as well as an ample power grid to facilitate development of an industrial park. Such a plan would bring businesses to the community and the opportunity to create hundreds of new jobs for citizens in Marinette and Menominee.

Overlooking any viable opportunity for economic growth is a disservice to the citizens of Menominee. Passing blame for Marinette leaving the agreement is not a solution. Elected officials need to step up to the plate and be willing to take some risks that would benefit the citizens they represent. Furthermore, state representatives need to be more proactive in decisions that involve economic growth that the entire community can embrace. State officials are seemingly willing to spend more time on mining projects that anger community members instead of options such as repurposing land near the Menominee airport that could potentially create hundreds of sustainable jobs. We cannot keep going down the same path and new ideas to move us forward are crucial for achieving our goals for prosperity.

Taking an idea, then laying out a plan and strategy to execute it, could produce a wealth of possible opportunities such as housing development. Additionally, there would be great potential for job growth with a possible distribution center such as Amazon. With a 6,000-foot runway still in place, the twin cities corporate needs would still be met with jet aircraft. Ironically, there are those who believe this could not happen, but many people believe that decision-makers do not have the nerve to try. Long-term goals do not happen by accident. They require taking an idea and transforming it into a plan with tangible results upon executing it with a pre-determined strategy. This plan could have been the booster shot in the arm of the county and city of Menominee. If another window of opportunity arises, we must consider this plan for economic growth that will benefit the entire twin city area.


Ken Holdorf