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Details of the proposed Belle Isle agreement

The James Scott Memorial Fountain on Belle Isle Park.
Mike Russell
wikimedia commons

Today, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing and Gov. Rick Snyder announced a plan to manage and restore Belle Isle. The plan will go before Detroit City Council for approval.

It calls for park operations, maintenance, and improvements to be managed by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources under a 30-year lease agreement. MDOT would maintain roads and bridges on Belle Isle.

The city of Detroit would maintain ownership of the park.

No rent would be paid to the city under the proposed lease. Payment, instead, would be in the form of park improvements and maintenance undertaken by the state.

In a released statement, Gov. Snyder gave a nod to the historic significance of Belle Isle.

"Establishing Belle Isle as a state park provides needed financial relief to Detroit without it relinquishing ownership, brings long overdue restoration and enhancements to the park, and guarantees a beautiful place for Michigan residents to enjoy for decades to come."

And Mayor Bing said the proposed agreement is a "win-win situation for the City and the entire State."

"This city-state collaboration will return Belle Isle to its original beauty through major improvements and regular maintenance overseen by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources," said Detroit Mayor Dave Bing.

An advisory council would be set up to help implement park improvements and maintenance.

The 11-member council would be made up by

  • five representatives appointed by the governor,
  • three representatives appointed by the mayor of the city of Detroit,
  • two representatives appointed by the Detroit City Council,
  • and one member who shall chair the committee jointly appointed by the governor and mayor

Here are some of the details of the proposed agreement:

  • The 30 year lease would start once approved by city council
  • Park goers can enter on foot or by public transport for free
  • The Detroit Free Press reports motorists will be required to have a $10 annual pass
  • A "Recreation Passport" validation will be needed beginning March 31, 2015
  • The city and state will together develop a detailed security plan for the park
  • The city, state, and the Belle Isle Conservancy will develop a master plan
  • The DNR will improve the park based on a phased management plan
  • The state can terminate the lease after 18 months’ prior notification to the city
  • The city can terminate the lease if the state fails to fulfill the terms of the lease
  • The state will provide the Detroit mayor and city council with annual reports
  • Park revenue from grants and other sources will go into an account that will transfer to the city once the lease is up.
Mark Brush was the station's Digital Media Director. He succumbed to a year-long battle with glioblastoma, an aggressive brain cancer, in March 2018. He was 49 years old.
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