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ROMULUS, MI-The Wayne County Commission has passed a resolution naming Northwest Airlines’ new $1.2-billion Midfield Terminal at Detroit Metropolitan Airport for Wayne County Executive Edward H. McNamara. “It’s altogether fitting that the terminal should carry the name of the man who envisioned it–and ultimately made it a reality,” says commission Chairman Ricardo A. Solomon.

A Northwest Airlines Inc. spokesman could not be reached to comment on whether the company will recognize the name. The commission thought it had the right to name the new two-million-sf terminal because Wayne County owns and operates the airport.

The new “McNamara Terminal” will feature 97 gates, an 11,500-space parking structure and more than 80 shops and restaurants, as well as a new 404-room, 355,000-sf Westin hotel (targeted completion date is September 2002).

Ken Coleman, Solomon’s press secretary, says McNamara recognized the need to improve the facilities at the airport shortly after taking office in 1987.

“Ed McNamara and his team have worked for years to put Metro at the forefront of aviation in the country,” says Commissioner Bob Blackwell, chairman of the Airport Operations Committee.

In 1996, McNamara secured $150 million in federal airport improvement funding, and in 1998 worked with the commission to complete a $1-billion bond sale to complete the financing package, Coleman says. The bond issue was the largest in the history of US airports, Coleman adds.

“McNamara has been the guiding force in making this (terminal) dream a reality, and it is only fitting that it be named in his honor,” says Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer.

However, McNamara’s efforts have been tainted by the local media’s accusations, over many years, that McNamara has used cronyism and favoritism to hand out jobs and contracts for the airport during his tenure.

Northwest, which includes Detroit as one of its major hubs, is expected to announce by July 31 exactly what date the large terminal will open. The company has been predicting a starting date sometime in December 2001. The airport was also awarded a $28.7-million grant for a wide range of airport improvements, including new terminal construction on the existing Smith, Davey and Barry terminals, which were built between the 1950s and ‘70s. Wayne officials are working to decide how to best renovate the existing terminals.

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