MACKINAC ISLAND (WWJ) - Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel says they want to grow the existing defense industry business — and they’re using two highway billboards to help make it happen.
Strategically positioned along I-75, one board reads “Macomb, Strong on Defense,” and the other “Macomb, Making It Regional.”
Hear Hackel’s interview with WWJ’s Vickie Thomas:
Talking to WWJ Newsradio 950 at the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Mackinac Policy Conference, Hackel said there are 600 companies that do defense-related work in Macomb County.
“We have that corridor … research, design, engineering technology. But that billboard is to let people know that that’s a strong part of our economy in Macomb County,” Hackel said. ”But Macomb is making it regional — and that’s what the second billboard was about. [We're] trying to let people know that I, as the figurehead — on behalf of Macomb County and Macomb County’s residents — support the regional assets that we have. We want to build up the region.”
Hackel stressed that Southeast Michigan’s communities must work cooperatively.
“We want talk about this defense industry being regional, and so, it’s another asset,” Hackel said. ”There’s always going to be the residual. Whether something happens in Oakland County, Wayne County, Detroit — Macomb County gets some benefits from it.”
“Well, that’s the same thing in Macomb County. We do something that’s strong, it’s an asset to use — they get some of the residual benefit as well., and obviously so does the state of Michigan,” he said.
Hackel said no taxpayer dollars are being used to fund the billboards, though the Detroit Free Press reported they were funded as part of a $231,000 state grant to attract new defense industry business to Michigan.