Families flock to Belle Isle on Independence Day

(WXYZ) - Detroit’s newest state park is the hot spot for Independence Day celebrations this year.

“This is the Belle Isle I remember,” Sadie Williams said, as she worked the grill for a family get-together.

Families flocked Friday to Belle Isle to celebrate the first July 4 weekend since the state took over the island park.

Visitors say the change is remarkable.

“The bathrooms are cleaner,” Williams said.

Barbara Taliaferro, who lounged in a lawn chair, said, “It’s peaceful now. So peaceful. And you’re not afraid.”

Michigan State Police troopers are new regulars at the park and the people embrace their presence.

“I’m glad to see the state come in, ‘cause it’s nice and clean,” Taliaferro said.

Park Supervisor Joe Hall said park rangers, conservation officers and troopers will be patrolling Belle Isle all

“People do feel safe and it’s welcome and open to all,” Hall said.

Roughly 30,000 people are expected to celebrate the holiday at the park Friday. Park officials say there are plenty of picnic spots available. Belle Isle’s other attractions – such as the Conservatory and the Nature Zoo – are open this weekend as well.

The park is open from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.

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