Governor Rick Snyder and Mayor Dave Bing appear close to a deal for the State of Michigan to lease Belle Isle from the City of Detroit and take over its operations, according to published news reports. It's not clear, though, whether or not the Detroit City Council will approve such a deal.
In my estimation, a lot will depend on how much the State of Michigan is willing to commit into improvements to the island. From a political standpoint, the burden of proof will need to be on Governor Snyder and Mayor Bing to show that they have a deal that will be better than what the City of Detroit could do on its own by simply charging an entrance fee.
Some of the key questions to look at in assessing the odds that this will gain City Council approval are:
- Will the Belle Isle Aquarium re-open on a full-time basis instead of just 3 days a month?
- Will the Dossin Great Lakes Museum re-open full-time basis instead of just on weekends?
- What kind of other commitments will the State of Michigan make for other improvements at the island?
Depending on the answer to those questions, when this comes to a vote before the City Council the tally could be anywhere from 6-3 in favor to 8-1 against.