Mayor Bing announces closure of city parks; Belle Isle discussions continue
By Mike Sandula
The Michigan Citizen
DETROIT — While the future of Detroit’s largest park remains uncertain, the city will be closing 50 other parks this spring.
“The inaction by City Council and resulting retraction of the state’s participation not only negatively affects Belle Isle, but also has significant impact on the city’s other parks and services,” Mayor Dave Bing said in a statement Feb. 1.
Thirty-eight additional parks will receive limited services. Also, a planned extension of hours at six city recreational centers will not occur.
At their Feb. 5 formal session, Council members chastised Mayor Bing for his announcement.
“If the mayor knew closure of 50 parks would happen after non-approval of the Belle Isle lease, why didn’t we know about it in October?” said Councilmember Ken Cockrel, Jr.
Councilmember JoAnn Watson urged the city to implement the Belle Isle master plan, which she said Council will take up at its Feb. 12 session.
“We can’t implement what we can’t pay for,” Cockrel said. “This has the look and feel of a Hail Mary pass.”
Several citizens told Council they’d be willing to pay a fee to access the island, so long as it remained in the city’s hands.
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