City Leases Belle Isle to Lansing

October 1, 2013

belle isle

DETROIT — At Tuesday’s regular City Council session, it was announced that state and city leaders executed a lease agreement effectively turning Belle Isle, one of Detroit’s “crown jewels,” into a state park.

The idea of ceding governance of the island from the city to Lansing has been floating for a while, with Gov. Rick Snyder suggesting the idea more than a year ago. Back then council demurred after city residents voiced concerns and staged protests against the deal. The governor withdrew the offer shortly thereafter, saying it could be revisited in 2014.

However, with the appointment of Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, who answers to the governor, a revisit of the agreement seemed likely after Orr indicated he would pursue the deal,  originally involving a 30-year, rent-free lease that gave the Department of Natural Resources control of the island in exchange for state-funded improvements to the park.

belle isle 2Council President Saunteel Jenkins asked council lawyers to look into the state’s emergency manager law in relation to leasing assets. Jenkins told reporters she had yet to see the document but was informed that it had been executed.

“I was not opposed to a lease for Belle Isle,” she said. “I was opposed to a lease for Belle Isle that didn’t include any protections for residents … and didn’t guarantee any improvements.”

  • Darralynn Hutson

    wow! just wow!

  • prymal

    I don’t have a problem with this.
    The city hasn’t been able to care for the island for a long time. It’s not like they’re moving it to Lansing or closing it down. It will be cared for and rejuvenated. Because the one thing Michigan does do right, is care for it’s parks. And a $10 a year fee is quite reasonable for the use of the park for a year. It also allows you to use any of the other state parks a well.
    Win win.

  • A Real Detroiter

    Once again the veil is pulled over our eyes and another political takeover executed. How the hell do entities continue to come into Detroit and take valuable resources for “free”? We still live in a capitalistic society people. Tax dollars are not sufficient. Where have deals such as these been highly effective? What other communities have been able to thrive with these type of deals?

  • love

    Madison Heights let Oakland County take over a Nature Center and they are doing a great job. You should thank the people of Michigan for the use of their tax doller