Detroit City Airport Future

Detroit City Airport Future

Thankfully there seems to be some good things happening in and around the City of Detroit pertaining to occupancy rate around the area as new investors buying and restoring many abandoned building both residential and commercial alike. With new investors contributing to the city in a positive manner one can see a turn-a-round from the urban flight which has plagued the city for the past decade giving many new hope that the city can return to its former prosperous past. The long term future of the Detroit City Airport is yet to be decided even with the many proposals over the years nothing as of yet has truly developed into substantial changes to be seen. Some people believe that because the runways are so narrow that they violate FAA regulations and so short that most of today’s commercial jets can’t safely land them, so why do we keep the airport open?

Recently designing and testing drones is one of the options for what Detroit City Airport and its tiny runways are useful for. Yes it would be nice to see commercial airline service return to City Airport but the reality is that it will not be possible without substantial modifications and expansion to the airport property which one can only hope happens at some point and time. Due to recent federal funding there have been at least 6 new companies setting up operations in the old terminal. While that’s welcoming news, the runways are still too close to the homes and building in adjoining neighborhoods, which is an issue that needs to be addressed if the airport is to have a future at all as a commercial airport.

It has now been eighteen years since the French Road Mini-Take project was initiated but never accomplished its goal of buying and leveling the adjoining neighborhoods allowing the airport room for much needed expansion. Local residents of the Detroit area have become far to familiar with seeing vast areas of empty streets where neighborhoods once thrived and prospered. Unfortunately many of the neighborhoods around city airport have been left to deteriorate past the point of restoration but stand in the way of future development of the airport.

The French Road Mini-Take project has not gone well at all nor made any substantial impact on area. Back when the plan was first proposed and introduced, property speculators rushed to snatch up much of the neighborhoods, hoping to sell the properties back to the city for a significant easy profit. Other owners were paid sums much larger than their homes were actually worth, while others have never even been approached at all. The process was so slow that many residents of the area simply abandoned their properties and allowed their mortgages to fall into foreclosure causing deterioration and decay of a once prosperous area. . As a result a vast amount of property in the area is now owned by the city of Detroit or the airport itself.

It’s very uplifting to finally see the long forgotten Detroit City Airport exhibiting signs of life and usefulness in any capacity but at the same time there’s always the underlying concern that the speculators return and ruin it all once again. Will the city ever be able to finish what it started and bring the airport up to today’s commercial airport standards or will City Airport fall back into irrelevance and someday be all but totally forgotten?


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