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Detroit City Council Rejects Belle Isle Lease, Proposes New Plan

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Detroit City Council votes to reject the Belle Isle lease. (credit: Beth Fisher/WWJ)

Detroit City Council votes to reject the Belle Isle lease. (credit: Beth Fisher/WWJ)

DETROIT (WWJ) – The Detroit City Council has unanimously rejected a deal between Gov. Rick Snyder and the city’s emergency manager to lease the popular Belle Isle park to the state.

The six-zero vote was made at a special session on Monday.

Following that vote, council members voted four to two in support of an alternative lease.

The rejected 30-year lease, signed by the governor and Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr on Oct. 1, would make Belle Isle a state park, saving $6 million each year in maintenance. The state would invest $10 million to $20 million over three years. There would be an annual $11 per-vehicle admission charge.

Council’s alternative lease is a 10-year term with a 10-year renewal option.

Under Public Act 436, the state’s emergency manager law, council’s deal must save the city as much money or more than Orr’s deal.

The measure now moves on to Michigan’s Emergency Loan Board which will have 30 days to decide which is a better plan.

Speaking at Monday’s session, Julianne Pastula — with the council’s legislative policy division — said that the term’s of the rejected lease are “very unbalanced.”

“There is no reciprocity between the terms between the state and the city,” Pastula said. “And the alternative proposal does seek to address those issues as well as strengthen other provisions that will not only benefit the city, but will benefit the state as well.”

Details about council’s plan were not immediately available.

Owned by the city since 1879. Belle Isle had suffered in recent years as a cash-strapped Detroit can’t afford repairs.

Orr filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection on behalf of the city in July.

MORE: State Signs Deal To Lease Belle Isle

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