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Could Budget Cuts Close Hart Plaza?

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Hoedown At Hart Plaza

(credit: wycd.com)

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DETROIT (WWJ) – Financially strapped, and under a state audit, there is word that the City of Detroit could soon be closing a number of area parks and venues.

That could make popular music and ethnic festivals a thing of the past.

“If we’re talking about facilities like Hart Plaza, for example, we can figure out some way to maybe be creative,” said Detroit City Councilman Ken Cockrel. “Because of the closure of Hart Plaza means we’re gonna see a mass exodus of big events that have been signature for downtown Detroit … then we may be cutting off our nose to spite our face.”

Cockrel said that, considering the city’s financial crisis, he understands that such cuts must be considered. But he is calling on Mayor Dave Bing’s administration to share more details about the closures.

“I’d like to get a complete listing of all of the parks and recreation centers that are going to be affected because, as it stands right now, you know, I’m getting calls from citizens or from groups that have traditionally sponsored events at these places,” said Cockrel.

“They wanna say, ‘Is it true? Can you confirm this?’ Then we have to go chase down the department head down and and find out what is or is not true,” he said.

Meantime, the mayor’s office tells WWJ Newsradio 950 that no decisions have been made about closing parks and that all options are being looked at as part of the city’s cost-savings plan.

Is it a good plan? Here’s what some WWJ listeners have been saying on Facebook:

Dave: “Bad idea … Start getting rid of the criminals running the city first.  Then reduce number of vehicles in motor pool, outsource depts that can be, and others.”

Blake: “Sell Belle Isle to the Metro Park system and put the money from the sale towards keeping Hart Plaza and other parks open. Where do you expect kids to play at and events held at that generate money for Downtown businesses?”

Charles: “I had a feeling that some events were going to close down. I do not show-up to most of them anyway, but this is just temporary. It is sad. The Mayor, and City Council have to make residual cuts somewhere.”

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