Council looks for alternatives to proposed Belle Isle lease
Will vote Oct. 11
Special to the Michigan Citizen
DETROIT — City Council has until Oct. 11 to approve, reject or develop an alternative course of action for Belle Isle. Otherwise, Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr will lease Belle Isle to the state.
Orr presented the proposed lease to council Sept. 30.
If voted down, Council will have an additional seven days to propose an alternate plan. No action by council will result in the approval of the current lease.
Council President Saunteel Jenkins has asked council to submit their recommendations to her by Oct. 9.
Councilwoman JoAnn Watson suggested looking to Huron Metro parks for assistance.
Watson stated she received information from State Sen. Bert Johnson (Detroit) that the city has provided Huron Metro Parks large sums for over 70 years.
“There could be a claim made for reclamation (with) an investment made by Huron Metro Park,” Watson said.
She requested documentation from the law and fiscal analysis departments concerning the amount of money Detroit has provided the Huron Metro parks since the 1940s.
Watson then requested the law department research to learn if the lease is in violation of the Michigan State Constitution.
According to Watson, the state constitution does not permit municipalities to extend fair credit to outside parties, considering there isn’t a dollar amount offered for Belle Isle.
Watson also said she would like an audit of the funds Roger Penske has generated through the Grand Prix, which has operated on the city park since the 1990s.
Councilman James Tate says he also wants the public to submit proposals for Belle Isle. Jenkins agreed.
“If there are proposals and recommendations for viable plans, it needs to be backed by more than six million dollars,” Jenkins said. “Actually the benefit has to be $12 million for it to be equally or better for the city financially. If anyone has a plan that will generate $12 million for the city, I would love to see it.”
Council will hold a special session Oct. 11 to vote on the proposed lease for Belle Isle. They will also consider recommendations at that time.