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Vision for Pinnacle site demonstrates new, improved economic development vision in Wayne County

The plans for the Pinnacle site in Huron Township promise a positive opportunity to Wayne County. The project, led by the developer Hillwood Enterprise and featuring investors like Ross Perot Jr., will bring a critical out-of-state investment to our region's logistics industry and hopefully wipe away the Pinnacle Rack Track failure.

It's unequivocally true that the race track venture was a disaster for Wayne County. A former editor of Thoroughbred Times said in 2008 that "only a gambler would start up a horse track today." The previous administration gambled and lost big on Pinnacle. We can't change the past. Nor should anyone ignore it.

However, what shouldn't be lost in this story is that we've learned from that bad bet: We won't gamble with Wayne County's tax dollars or economic development opportunities. We will be strategic and calculating to make the best decisions for our residents and communities.

When the property foreclosed in April, we quickly engaged with local communities to find the best solution for Pinnacle. Wayne County was able obtain, market and negotiate the sale and development agreement of 650 acres within a matter of months. This deal ensures a $40 million investment that leverages the proximity to Detroit Metro Airport to provide sustainable job creation and an expanded tax base, while also better positioning Wayne County to be a leader in the logistics industry.

Logistics may not be as glamorous as thoroughbred racing, but economists are confident this growing industry can provide jobs and goods for Wayne County residents over the long run. Our strategy of using the airport and our international border to attract this kind of development has shown results with Amazon, Penske, Brose, and Fuyao also choosing to locate facilities in Wayne County over the last few years.

A calculated, data-driven strategy also informed our plans for the new criminal justice center currently under construction. The project is moving forward on time and with construction cost overruns paid for by Rock Development, our project partner, instead of taxpayers. The sales of three Ford Industry Mills adjacent to Hines Park to developers committed to community-supported rehabilitation projects-properties that were underutilized and closed to the public for 70 years-is another example of how Wayne County's economic development strategy has eschewed chasing silver bullets in favor of practical, community-based projects funded by private investment.

Wayne County must live with the legacy created by mistakes of the past. However, we are working tirelessly to do things differently and achieve better outcomes for residents, taxpayers, and communities. The results of that transformation speak for itself.