A Hong Kong-based investor wants to return the historic jewel on Belle Isle back to its original beauty and create a boutique hotel with 100 to 120 rooms and restaurants.
Approval of the plan prompted outrage in the small audience as security removed some shouting residents.
The lease calls for the creation of a seven-member advisory committee that will oversee improvements and master planning.
“How dare someone come into this city and take away the most treasured jewel of our citizens,” Councilwoman Joann Watson steamed.
Council President Charles Pugh said the city can improve the nation’s largest municipal park on its own by charging entrance fees, opening up a winery and launching events such as concerts.
Most council members opposed the Belle Isle lease Tuesday, saying they don’t trust the city gem in state hands.
The council voted 6-3 to debate the issue another day, saying they still need more time to look over the lease.
The state and Mayor’s Office failed to convince the council to approve the lease, which would have added at least $1.6 million to maintain the park.
Turns out, the pending deal between Mayor Dave Bing and Gov. Rick Snyder offers no assurance that the financially struggling park would receive a penny for improvements. In fact, any future funding depends on the availability of state funds, which are controlled by a traditionally anti-Detroit Legislature.