State Signs 30-Year Lease for Belle Isle

Detroit’s historic Belle Isle, a 982-acre island park in the Detroit River, will be taken over by the state as the Michigan Emergency Loan Board approved a 30-year lease with two 15-year renewals with the city in a deal that would save Detroit up to $6 million in annual maintenance costs. As such Belle Isle will become Michigan’s 102nd state park.

Belle Isle State Park Detroit

Detroit’s historic Belle Isle, a 982-acre island park in the Detroit River, will be taken over by the state.  The Michigan Emergency Loan Board has approved a 30-year lease with two 15-year renewals with the city in a deal that would save Detroit up to $6 million in annual maintenance costs. Belle Isle will become Michigan’s 102nd state park.

According to Detroit Free Press, the three-panel board set a 90-day transition period starting on December 1, after which the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will assume full management of the park. Belle Isle State Park will remain free-of-charge for pedestrians, cyclists and those using public transportation; but, starting February 2014, an $11 fee per vehicle—a “Recreation Passport” offering 12-month access to all Michigan state parks and recreation areas—will be charged to all motorists.

During the first three years of state management, the DNR will invest $10 million to $20 million in various improvement projects at Belle Isle, according to the lease proposal which was submitted to Gov. Rick Snyder in September.

Created in 1845 on the former estate of General Alexander Macomb Jr., Belle Isle includes three buildings designed by Albert Kahn between 1903 and 1930: the Whitcomb Conservatory, the Casino and the Livingstone Lighthouse. Renovations at the Belle Isle Maintenance Building, a 20,000-square-foot Tudor-style structure designed in 1895 by Detroit architect George Mason, started in Fall 2011 (read more here).

 

Satellite image via Google Maps