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Strong push to turn Detroit's Belle Isle into state park

The Scott fountain on Belle Isle
The Scott fountain on Belle Isle

Governor Snyder is pushing for a plan that would turn Detroit’s Belle Isle into a state park.

Detroit and the state have signed a consent agreement that, among other things, lays out broad plans to restructure the city.

One of those listed: a plan for the city to lease Belle Isle to the state. The state’s Park Endowment fund would then pick up the maintenance costs.

“So we could actually do improvements on Belle Isle, have it available for the citizens of Detroit and the citizens of Michigan, and then free up dollar resources that are now going currently going to Belle Isle that could help the neighborhoods," Snyder said this week.

The Governor said state officials are trying to launch "a dialogue" with the Detroit City Council and Mayor’s office about the plan. But he basically told the Detroit City Council and mayor’s office to get moving on the issue.

“I hope that could be one of the faster ones [in the consent agreement] we could process, in terms of figuring out how to do that," Snyder said.

The idea of turning over control of Belle Isle is a politically touchy one in Detroit.

Snyder emphasized the city would continue to own the island. But at some point, a state park entrance fee would come into effect.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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