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Belle Isle Plan Stalled As Detroit City Council Waits For Details From State And Mayor Bing

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The James Scott Memorial Fountain is shown at Belle Isle park in Detroit Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. On Sept. 17, City Council members expressed dissatisfaction with the lack of details in a lease agreement with the state announced by Gov. Rick Snyder and Mayor Dave Bing the previous week. Under the proposal, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources would operate the park for 30 years, and people driving onto the island would either pay $10 per visit or need a $10 recreation passport that cov | AP

Detroit City Council won't vote on a proposal to lease the city's Belle Isle park to the state without further details, members said Tuesday.

Mayor Dave Bing and Governor Rick Snyder announced a proposal last week that would make Michigan's Department of Natural Resources responsible for operating the island park for 30 years, which awaits Council approval to go into effect.

But according to Councilman James Tate, the proposal is lacking in specifics that council members say they need to approve it.

"I'm open to new, creative, innovative, ideas, cooperative ideas that would ... help the city of Detroit," Tate told The Huffington Post. "But what I saw in front of me ... was really a promise to do nothing."

Tate expressed concern that there was no specific dollar amount promised to the park and suggested that it would be difficult for the city to exit the agreement, because with few details it would be hard to prove if the state had committed a "material breach." And while increasing safety is part of the plan, there are few details about how that would be accomplished.

The proposal did include images that revealed some possible improvements, with somewhat crude renderings showing renovations to buildings, parking lots and other infrastructure.

Earlier, Snyder spokeswoman Sara Wurfel told the Detroit News that an agreement was needed before they could do the analyses and cost assessments that would nail down specifics.

Council could discuss the proposal in more detail next week, but may not if they don't receive further information from the administration, Council President Charles Pugh told the Detroit Free Press.

Tate reiterated that he found it "disrespectful" for Bing and Snyder to announce the deal publicly before the body got a chance to discuss it, which puts pressure on him and his colleagues to approve it.

"It appears to be a policy decision on behalf of the administration that if we can bypass council, we will," Tate said.

Bing's administration was not immediately available for comment Tuesday.

Tate said he was open to an agreement with the state, or other options to safeguard the park, but wanted to be sure that's what they were getting.

"The City of Detroit is in a situation that's unprecedented in terms of our dire fiscal situation," he said. "I think I also have a responsibility as an elected official to have all of the information in front of me before I make a decision, especially at this magnitude."

"I don't see Detroit is guaranteed a better park. Is it possible? Absolutely, but there's no reasonable assurance."

According the Detroit Free Press, Councilwoman JoAnne Watson wanted a legal opinion on whether the city was allowed to enter into an agreement where the state would lease the park for free.

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Earlier on HuffPost:

Belle Isle Renderings Miss The Mark
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