DETROIT (WWJ) – While Detroit City Council members continue to mull a proposed plan by the state to lease Belle Isle, the issue of the park’s shuttered restroom facilities has been raised.
Talking to WWJ Newsradio 950’s Pat Sweeting, Belle Isle Conservancy Board Chair and President Sarah Early said that, over the past five years, Detroit’s General Services Budget has been severely slashed.
Early said that’s fund that used to pay for staffers to mow lawns, pick up trash and clean bathrooms — bathrooms that can no longer be maintained.
“You may notice in the park today there are port-a-potties outside every single comfort station, because the comfort stations have been closed because there aren’t building attendants budgeted to clean the bathrooms,” said Early. “You know, that’s just not acceptable! It’s not a park experience that you want anyone to have.”
The Belle Isle Conservancy Wednesday held their 8th annual “Polish the Jewel” hat luncheon at the Belle Isle Casino. It was expected to raise nearly $300,000 for improvement projects at the 985-acre park that has been owned by the city of Detroit since 1879.
Early, who made her comments at the fundraiser, said the reality is that the city does not have the funding to put into the park and the state has access to resources the city does not — including state park endowment funds.
“We think that the park management team is incredible. The city people we work with do the best they can with the resources they’re given,” said Early. “The reality is that the General Services Department budget has been cut 76 percent!”
Detroit City Council were expected to re-address the Belle Isle issue at a meeting tentatively set for next Tuesday.