Go-karts and merry-go-rounds could be the answer to the fiscal problems dogging Belle Isle, Detroit's island park, say some of its elected officials.
Members of a Detroit City Council committee are not yet ready for a vote on a proposal to make the island into a state park, but they are considering alternative ways to generate revenue for the island.
At a meeting Thursday, neighborhood and community services committee members JoAnn Watson and Kwame Kenyatta discussed canoes, horse riding, go-karts, ice skating and carnival rides as ways to spruce up the park and boost its cash flow, WWJ reports.
Councilman Andre Spivey, who is not on the committee, was also in attendance.
A 2005 master plan that proposes $250 million in renovations to the island was also part of the conversation, as was a possible bond issue with the Detroit-Wayne County Port Authority, The Detroit News reports.
Mayor Dave Bing and Governor Rick Snyder announced their proposal to turn the park over to Michigan's Department of Natural Resources under a 30-year lease in early September, but council members have said they need more specifics about the plan before they can vote on it. In the last month, they have expressed varying levels of skepticism about the terms of the state's plans, particularly its length and lack of specific dollar amounts attached.
"I'm open to new, creative, innovative, ideas, cooperative ideas that would ... help the city of Detroit," Tate told The Huffington Post in September. "But what I saw in front of me ... was really a promise to do nothing."
The State of Michigan has said that, supplemented by grants and partnerships, it would put more money into the park than the $6.2 million now budgeted annually for operations, maintenance, redevelopment and security.
City Council might sound like they're getting ahead of themselves with their vision of a Belle Isle generating revenue hand-over-fist from horseback and go-kart riding, but while we're dreaming, let's not stop there. Take our poll and tell us what you want to see at the country's largest urban island park.
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Below, see the planned improvements for Belle Isle in some oddly-Photoshopped renderings released by the city.