Detroit City Council delays vote on leasing Belle Isle to state – again

Detroit City Council opted again today to delay voting on leasing Belle Isle to the state for 30 years.

The council voted 6-3 to debate the issue another day, saying they still need more time to look over the lease.

Gov. Rick Snyder and Treasurer Andy Dillon are pressuring Detroit to lease the island park to the state to save the cash-strapped city $6 million a year. Failure to do so could lead to the appointment of an emergency manager, who would have authority to sell off city assets.

A public hearing on the lease Monday devolved into heckling and racial accusations.

Today’s meeting wasn’t as combative.

Councilwoman JoAnn Watson said the state wants to turn Belle Isle into a “playground for the rich.”

“Why would we dispose of a national treasurer?” Watson asked. “You don’t give something like this up.”

Earlier this week, some council members thought they had five of the nine votes required to approve the lease.

Mayor Dave Bing supports the deal.

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.