Weeks after Detroit Mayor Dave Bing and Gov. Rick Snyder announced a plan for the state to operate and manage Belle Isle, an island park in the city, City Council is still declining to vote on the proposed lease.
The Detroit News reports a public hearing on the matter scheduled for Thursday was postponed Tuesday without another date being set, following several meetings in which Council members repeatedly voiced concerns about the plan to lease the park to the Department of Natural Resources for 30 years, citing the lease's lack of specifics about funding. They also would want to see that jobs and contracts would go to Detroiters.
As the lease stands, the state would fund renovations and operations rather than pay rent. Entrants in cars would have to have a Recreation Passport, a $10 annual pass that gets Michiganders into all state parks. The park has historically been free to enter, and would continue to be for pedestrians and bikers.
Bing and the state have said the plan would save the city $6 million annually and 36 employees who currently maintain Belle Isle would be deployed to other city parks.
According to the Detroit Free Press, some members are still trying to craft a deal with the state, but others are bent on considering other options. That includes looking at a plan drawn up six years ago and considering revenue-generating entertainment options like go-karts and horseback riding, or even a Boblo Island-style amusement park.
A recent Detroit News poll of 800 Detroiters found that 51 percent strongly support the state plan and 15.5 percent somewhat support it. A more informal poll of HuffPost Detroit readers found 78 percent support the lease -- vote if you haven't yet. Below, see what people have been saying about the plan on Twitter, and tweet your own Belle Isle thoughts to @HuffPostDetroit.
Should Detroit's Belle Isle Become A State Park?
When Michigan state officials discussed a proposed lease of the Detroit Belle Isle park with a dubious City Council Tuesday, the eight (of nine) present members reiterated they weren't ready to agree to it. We took to Twitter to find out what Detroiters had to say about the contentious meeting.
Flickr photo by michaelnpatterson.
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