DETROIT (WXYZ) - The transition to manage and spruce up Detroit's Belle Isle Park is finally underway!
For the next 30 years, this urban jewel will be in the capable hands of the State of Michigan and a 7-member advisory board. Working together, they can make Belle Isle a world-class experience.
But the devil is in the detail!
For example, look closely at the advisory board.
Three members are appointed by the governor. Two members are selected by the mayor and 1 member is picked by the Detroit City Council.
That's fine but the chair of the board is appointed jointly by the governor and the mayor, not city council.
That's a problem!
You're starting off giving the new neighborhood-based city council the weakest voice on the board. The chair should be respected by all three branches of government, not just two!
We call on the city's emergency manager and the state to correct this potential problem.
The director of the Michigan DNR has great plans for Belle Isle's future. It includes millions of dollars in improvements and reaching out to Detroit residents and businesses for park employment and contract opportunities.
We take the DNR director for his word, but we urge the Belle Isle Advisory Board to hold him to his promises.
This well managed William Milliken State Park here on the riverfront is solid proof that city and state partnerships can work.
I'm Ed Fernandez, Vice President & General Manager.