Politics & Government
1:50 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

Detroit City Council, state officials close in on Belle Isle deal

State and Detroit city officials appear close to an agreement on a deal that would turn Belle Isle into a state park, the Detroit News is reporting.

A City Council vote to approve the deal could come as early as Monday.

"We're still working on issues about security, but we can get it done," Detroit City Council President Pro Tem Gary Brown said Monday as he attended an event at the Detroit Athletic Club. "The votes on City Council are there — they have actually been there for a while."

Under a new agreement, the state would lease Belle Isle for a decade at a time, and the city could decline to renew each 10-year lease. The city would still own the park, but the Michigan Department of Natural Resources would operate it and sell $11 annual vehicle passes — the same as it charges for other state parks.

City council members rejected an earlier proposal by the state that would have established a 30-year lease for Belle Isle.

At the time, council members expressed concerns over the lengthy period of the lease and the lack of specifics from the state on how much would be spent on improvements for the island.

Councilman James Tate told the News that most of his issues with the earlier proposal have been resolved, but that questions remain about who would be responsible for public safety in the park.

On Monday, a crowd gathered at the Detroit Athletic Club to hear an alternative to the state’s plan that would include the purchase of Belle Isle for $1 billion and its development into a private city-state.

A public hearing on the state’s proposal could come later this week.

- Jordan Wyant, Michigan Radio Newsroom