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Q: What was the downfall of the plant?
A: We got the plant because, at the time, Ford wanted production near his customers, and we were a huge market for automobiles, plus there was the proximity of the railroad to ship cars. Once trucking became more prevalent and the nation’s freeway system developed, that became more important determinants of where plants would go. [Auto] plants and their suppliers moved toward the middle of the country, generally lower Michigan to Alabama. It created a cluster effect. That was really the end of it.
Q: What do you think is the best use for the site?
A: I think it’s very important to remember the activities that took place on the site. We need to try to create a meaningful legacy project to educate and inspire people about the plant. My preference would be to save part of the building, the training center and original building.
The site was first zoned residential because it was such an attractive and beautiful site, and clearly it still is. So it could be residential, maybe a mix of uses. One of the biggest lessons here is how the industrial sector in our economy has been dismantled. I’d like to see industrial there, but it would be very hard to do.
Janet Moore • 612-673-7752