Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Bing + Snyder Ready to Sign Deal for Belle Isle

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.

1 comment:



Years ago (2003) when I ran for Detroit City Council, no one from the BI Conservancy responded at all, no one from the media, was interested in my proposals to improve BI - as a DPD Officer assigned for two summers, I know that BI was thee most dangerous place in Detroit, during the summer and needed improvements.

Now it is a hot topic - because some ignorant members of the 'enlightened' City Council are worried about a State takeover, refusing to acknowledge history that - it was the State that encouraged Detroit to buy BI and gave the City the money to do so...

The most ignorant comment so far and there have been many (Joanne Watson) is by Coleman Young, Jr, a state representative, who made comments about Yogi Bear and Boo Boo ??? BI will be operated like any other state park - you can buy a $10. state park sticker, from the Secretary of State, for you license plate and go onto BI or into any other state park, with now other charges - except camping fees. This fee is a bargain - a steal for anyone who uses state parks...

The City can not properly take care of Rouge Park, which will remain free to use - but large parts are unuseable because of tall grass and poor or no maintenance.

Detroit cannot maintain Eliza Howell Park (I was a DPD Park Ranger there) where deer have been killed and suburbanites have grooved deep tracks in the grass, while riding illegally on 4 wheelers. The city is fighting and expensive lawsuit, by Ken Cheyne, to take back EHP, that his family donated, so he can maintain and improve it for local residents. A pay to play scheme was offered but rejected by Cheyen.

The only damage that has been done to BI has been by Roger Penske and the Grand Prix - with the Mayors and City Council apparent unconcern and approval. Penske paved over 10 acres of BI ($7M dollars) and now are fixing and extending the roads to accomodate the Grand Prix - that is for the rich and ignores the damaged done to the wildlife and beauty of BI. Detroit is NOT getting compensated enough for the time the Grand Prix, preparations and race that take over BI (closing it to residents - and impedes their use of BI) and not enough to compensate for the police, fire and EMS expenses.

The City is getting a deal at 20 years !!! and should approve and sign the agreement - ASAP, so improvements can be done.

So City Council - the paperwork is in your hands...Do you have the intelligence to approve the contract or do you still pander, decieved the public - that you are protecting them and Detroit's 'jewels'.

David L. Malhalab
Sgt DPD Retired