Governor's office says Belle Isle lease deal is off the table after council delays vote

DETROIT (WXYZ) - Michigan Governor Rick Snyder's office says the governor has pulled a proposal where the state would have leased Belle Isle from the city of Detroit.

The move comes after Detroit City Council met today and failed to vote on the issue.

While Council did vote to take the issue out of committee, they did not place it on the agenda. This means the issue could not be voted on before the end of the month.

The Governor had said the lease deal would have to be voted on before the end of 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 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  I have just received a letter from the Governor's office confirming that he has now withdrawn the proposed Belle Isle lease agreement from further consideration.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."

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