Cities struggle to find new uses for auto plants

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WIXOM, Mich. (AP) — It has been months since Henry Ford’s great-grandson arrived at a shuttered auto plant outside of Detroit to brag about a plan to revive the vast empty space.

The plant today is still vacant, just like scores of other cavernous auto factories across the nation.

An Associated Press analysis illustrates the scope of the problem: Of 128 manufacturing plants in North America closed since 1980 by the Detroit Three automakers and their largest suppliers, three of every five now sit idle.

Those 128 plants had a payroll of 196,000 workers at the time they closed. Today, only 36,500 people work at those sites that have been redeveloped, and at only three of the revived plants does the number of employees match or exceed the number in their carmaking past.