DETROIT (WWJ) – Detroit mayoral candidate Mike Duggan wants to see the city maintain control of Belle Isle.
Duggan, who says he’s always been against leasing the 985-acre park, is working on Plan B.
He believes Detroit’s emergency manager working out a deal with Gov, Rick Snyder amounts to a significant conflict of interest.
“I don’t understand how Kevyn Orr, an employee of the governor, can sign a lease with the governor to transfer a city asset of the state,” said Duggan.
“The state’s sitting on both sides of the negotiating table. It’s the definition of conflict of interest,” he said.
Duggan has put together a team and is talking with Detroit City Council members about a plan that he says will save Detroit the same money as the deal signed with the state. He thinks the city should collect entrance fees and maintain Belle Isle with that money.
Under Public Act 436, the emergency manager law, council has 10 days to approve or disapprove the lease. If council members reject the lease, they’ll then have seven days to offer a viable alternative.
“This is something where we’ve got to walk in and present a professional proposal with sound financial data,” Duggan said. “But there is no reason the city of Detroit cannot run that island efficiently.”
Owned by the city since 1879. Belle Isle had suffered in recent years as a cash-strapped Detroit can’t afford needed repairs.
A 30-year lease, signed Wednesday, turns the park over to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, which plans to clean up and fix up the park.
Duggan, who took the mayoral primary election by write-in vote, will face off against opponent Benny Napoleon in November.