Detroit, State Partner to Rejuvenate Belle Isle

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DETROIT— Gov. Rick Snyder and Detroit Mayor Dave Bing today announced a tentative landmark agreement to preserve, protect and enhance Belle Isle as a state park. The city of Detroit will maintain ownership under the agreement with the state of Michigan and Department of Natural Resources (DNR) leasing the land under contract.

“Michiganders have enjoyed Belle Isle for more than a century,” Gov. Snyder said. “From the conservatory and museum to sporting events and family picnics, this historic landmark has brought fond memories to all who have visited. 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.”

Snyder said the proposed agreement will help generate economic development and neighborhood revitalization, which are core to Detroit’s and Michigan’s reinvention.

“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. “It presents a win-win situation for the City and the entire State, by preserving a historic destination in the City of Detroit.”

The lease creates a cooperative agreement between the city of Detroit and the state of Michigan to manage Belle Isle for the benefit of the public. The park’s operations, maintenance and improvements will be managed by the DNR and funded through the Michigan State Parks Endowment Fund and through other sources. Additionally, the state Department of Transportation (MDOT) will assume responsibility for roads and bridges on Belle Isle.

No rent will be paid for the lease. Operation, maintenance and improvement projects will be considered compensation. A 11-member advisory council consisting of 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, will advise the parties on implementation of improvements and master planning for the park. The city and state will also work cooperatively with the Belle Isle Conservancy.

The proposed lease agreement now goes to the Detroit City Council for its review and consideration.

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