Snyder to withdraw Belle Isle state proposal

By Stephanie Sokol

An offer to lease Belle Isle as a state park will be withdrawn by Gov. Rick Snyder’s office, after the Detroit City Council decided against voting on it earlier today.

The offer, which would have allowed the state Department of National Resources to run the island as a state park for 30 years, was only approved for an “up-or-down vote” on the lease by council members James Tate, Saunteel Jenkins and Gary Brown, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Two optional renewals would have been included, in exchange for a lease of $6 million taken by the state for operations and maintenance.

In the article, Caleb Buhs, a spokesman for Snyder, said it was withdrawn because there isn’t time for another extension.

“As we stated in the past, the end of January is a crucial time for the DNR to be able to effectively plan and marshal resources for this season,” Buhs said in the article. “The governor was hopeful that this would be a partnership that would allow the island to return to its former status as one of the best parks in the nation.”

The next steps for the island are undetermined, though council president Charles Pugh said he wishes the awareness toward the island will lead to continued efforts of improvement for the island.

“I have just received a letter from the governor’s office confirming that he has now withdrawn the proposed Belle Isle lease agreement from further consideration,” Mayor David Bing said in the article. “This plan would have provided state funding for the operation, renovation and maintenance of the island as a state park, while we work to stabilize the city’s finances. I believe the majority of Detroiters supported this lease agreement. City Council’s actions today will force us to look at making additional cutbacks that may negatively impact the city’s other parks.”