While it’s no secret that the political infrastructure of Detroit has created an uphill battle for the city’s revival, dragging heels seem to be the consistent trend of City Council.
Belle Isle, the beautiful yet ill-maintained park in the Detroit River just east of Jefferson Avenue has had a rather tumultuous past. But as of late, an exciting opportunity for resurgence has surfaced: turning the island into a state park – via a lease with the state of Michigan – for at least the next 30 years.
At first that might evoke some territorial feelings from loyal Detroiters, but most get over that when they realize that the state would assume most of the annual costs for maintenance and upkeep, alongside the investment of “millions in upgrades,” according to the Detroit Free Press.
But rather than looking at what this deal could do for Belle Isle and Detroit as a whole, City Council decided that they just didn’t feel like voting on the issue today – pushing back the decision by at least two weeks, reports the article.
If Detroit had the resources to maintain the beloved park, then this issue may not have even reached the City Council floor; but it doesn’t. The city doesn’t have the money or the humanpower to sustain the more than 900 acres on Belle Isle. And if it did, why hasn’t it been?
As the Detroit News reports, “the state would lease the island in 10-year increments, allowing the city to retake control if its finances allow. Detroit will save $8 million in operating costs, while the state will invest money to rehabilitate facilities…An infusion of state resources would greatly enhance Belle Isle and give Detroiters a high-quality recreation facility.”
The article goes on to explain that the city would still own the park, but the state would sell annual passes for a whopping $11 a pop.
So what part of this deal does City Council not agree with? The simultaneous relief for the city in conjunction with the improvement of one of its most esteemed possessions? The help of our state to maintain an incredible piece of land that belongs to all of us? The betterment of a section of real estate that adds immense amounts of recreation, culture, and enjoyment to our struggling city? What’s the deal?
The Detroit News adds that 66% of Detroiters agree with the deal, creating even more confusion as to why City Council doesn’t even want to hold a vote on the lease of Belle Isle.
Forgive the metaphor, but there seems to be a turd in the punchbowl with regard to the City Council of Detroit and its intentions.