Mich. Board Looking At Leasing Detroit Park
A Michigan board is planning to meet to consider proposals to lease Detroit’s 985-acre Belle Isle park to the state.
The Associated Press reported that Gov. Rick Snyder and emergency manager Kevyn Orr signed a 30-year lease on Oct. 1 to make Belle Isle a state park, saving Detroit $6 million annually in maintenance. But the city council rejected the deal and instead voted for a 10-year lease.
The Local Emergency Financial Assistance Loan Board is scheduled to meet next week in Lansing. The board is made up of members of Snyder’s administration.
Under the Snyder-Orr deal, Michigan would invest $10 million to $20 million over three years. In order to get in, those who drive a car will need a Michigan Recreation Passport, which costs $11 per-vehicle annually. Those who enter on foot or on bikes will still get in for free.
The board has a Nov. 18 deadline to determine which plan is most viable.
Snyder and Mayor Dave Bing, earlier this year, put together a plan for the island — but Snyder withdrew the offer after city council members failed to vote on it.
Owned by the city since 1879, Belle Isle had suffered in recent years as a cash-strapped Detroit can’t afford repairs.
“Detroit’s current financial condition prohibits the city from investing in the much-needed restoration of Belle Isle,” Bing has said. “As I stated last year when a proposed lease agreement was developed, my administration strongly believes the state park structure is the best option for managing and maintaining the island and restoring it to its grandeur.”