Belle Isle Shines As Park Attendance Skyrockets — Again

DETROIT (WWJ/AP) — Turns out, metro Detroit loves the rejuvenated Belle Isle. After decades of city neglect and budget drama, the jewel of a park is shining again.

320,000 daffodils have been planted this spring, with a goal of having one daffodil for every one of Detroit’s residents.

And that kind of attention to detail is bringing crowds: Since the Department of Natural Resources took over operations from the city, they’ve seen double digit increases in visits every year.

“What we hear is people feel comfortable because it’s a clean, safe environment and they appreciate it,” said Ron Olson, the state’s director of parks and recreation.

Olson said between 2015 and 2016, attendance increased 16 percent from to 3.6 million to 4.2 million. City residents are also buying more parks passes, from 5 percent of residents in 2015 to 33 percent in 2015

To help keep it sparkling, volunteers will help celebrate Earth Day by sprucing up Detroit’s Belle Isle park.

The annual spring cleaning is scheduled from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday on the Detroit River island northeast of downtown.

Volunteers are asked to check in Saturday morning and receive cleanup assignments. They also should dress for the weather and wear work boots and gloves.

Belle Isle became a state park in 2014 under a 30-year lease agreement with Detroit, which had struggled for years to come up with money to maintain and improve the park. Michigan’s Natural Resources department now manages it.

The cleanup event is coordinated by the Natural Resources department and the Belle Isle Conservancy.

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