Metro Airport renames North Terminal for Wayne County Executive Evans

James David Dickson
The Detroit News

Romulus — The North Terminal at Metro Airport is now named the Warren Cleage Evans Terminal, in honor of Wayne County Executive Warren Evans, after a Monday ceremony at the airport.

"Public service is about serving the public," Evans said in a statement. "But I must say that it does feel good to know that others appreciate what I have been trying to do for all these years.” 

The Wayne County Airport Authority in June approved the name change of the North Terminal in a 6-0 vote.

Four of the authority's seven board members are appointees of Evans. One board member is a Wayne County commissioner appointed by his peers, while another was appointed by Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the last one by Republican former Gov. Rick Snyder. 

Evans was elected Wayne County executive in November 2014 and has held the post since January 2015. The renaming honor comes less than a decade into his tenure.

Evans' time in office has been marked by balanced budgets — in 2015, it appeared Wayne County was headed for a financial emergency and possible state-appointed emergency manager — and seeming success in building a new criminal justice complex, whose construction is nearing completion.

Prior to becoming county executive, Evans was Wayne County sheriff and a Detroit police chief under Mayor Dave Bing. 

The Evans Terminal is a renaming of the North Terminal, which opened in 2008.

In 1975, the North Terminal was renamed the J.M. Davey Terminal in honor of former Metro Airport administrator James M. Davey. That name went away when the Davey Terminal was demolished in 2005 to make room for the new North facility.

The signage changes, at least one of which were evident over the weekend, will continue "over the next few weeks," the airport says.

In July 2001, when Metro Airport announced that its new Midfield Terminal would be named for then Wayne County Executive Ed McNamara, the decision was controversial. McNamara served for 16 years through 2002, and the new main terminal was named after him for overseeing a $1.6 billion expansion at the airport.

But some letters to the editor said the choice was "embarrassing" and that others were more deserving.

But one individual wrote to defend the renaming. The July 28, 2001, the Detroit Free Press ran a letter from Warren C. Evans titled "Deserving leader."

"I would be hard-pressed to find any one person who's been more instrumental in the development and professionalism of Wayne County government than Edward McNamara," Evans wrote. "The entire impetus and expanding the Detroit-Wayne County Metropolitan Airport began with his vision and drive."

Evans concluded by arguing "Wayne County would be on life support without McNamara's leadership. Certainly the terminal should be named in his honor."

In 2002, the McNamara Terminal opened for business. 

Twenty years later, Evans now has a terminal named in his honor. The choice was made back in June 2021 by a vote of the Wayne County Airport Authority Board of Directors.

The McNamara Terminal was built new. It was envisioned back in 1996 as the airport's new "Midfield Terminal," according to a history of Metro Airport, available on its website.

jdickson@detroitnews.com