Detroit Mayor says 50 parks will close, announces other cuts after Belle Isle decision

List of park closures

DETROIT (WXYZ) - Detroit Mayor Dave Bing is announcing major cuts to city programs after Detroit City Council's decision regarding Belle Isle.

During a news conference Friday morning, Mayor Bing announced closures and cuts to Parks and Recreation services.

He also announced that 50 Detroit parks will close by spring. SCROLL DOWN FOR THE COMPLETE LIST.

The mayor says city parks and recreation centers are being severely impacted by council's failure to approve a Belle Isle lease agreement with the State of Michigan.

"Recreation is a fundamental function for all citizens, and a key to the quality of life in any city," Mayor Bing said. "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."

The Detroit City Council met earlier this week and failed to vote on the lease agreement proposed by the State of Michigan.

Because the issue could not be voted on before the end of the month, Governor Rick Snyder pulled the proposal from the table where the state would have leased Belle Isle from the city of Detroit.

The Governor had previously stated that the lease deal would have to be voted on before the end of the January.

The state wanted to operate the island as a state park which would have required residents to pay ten dollars for an annual vehicle pass. Pedestrians and bicyclists would have been allowed to enter at no cost.

The state would have paid for the cost of maintenance, reportedly saving the city eight million dollars per year. The proposed lease would have lasted for 30 years and would have allowed either the city or the state to opt out after each decade. 

Council members held a public hearing Monday where Detroiters spoke out on both sides of the issue.

Following the Governor's decision, Detroit City Council President Pro-Tem Gary Brown tweeted his reaction, posting "I strongly believe that the City of Detroit should not be managing #BelleIsle. Park management is not a core service. Public safety is."

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing also responded previously to the developments with the following statement: 

"I am extremely disappointed with today's decision by City Council to table the vote on the Belle Isle lease deal with the State.  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.  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."

The following parks will close by spring:

Biraga, Howarth, Sasser, Brookins, Marruso, Manning-Beland, Dueweke, Maheras, Manz, Messmer, Chandler, Mollicone, Bennett, Cass, Dues, Michigan-Third, Mt. Elliott, Murphy, Pirrien, Savage, Romanowski, Wingle, Bishop, Calvert, Franklin, Keidan, Laker, Richard Allen, Russell Woods, Schultz, Cross, Fitzpatrick, Phelps, Rouge (portion), Simanek, Stein, Hackett, milan, O'Hair, Outer Dr. - Burgess, Rosemont-Acacia, Cook, Diack, Fields, Kelley, Sawyer, Varier, Hyde, Lugar, Sherwood, St. Martin.

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