Budget leader in MI Senate blasts state lease of Belle Isle

Michigan Public Radio Network

A key Republican lawmaker in Lansing is blasting a plan to make Detroit’s Belle Isle a state park. That means any more state spending on the park could have a tough time getting through the Legislature.

Senate Appropriations Chair Roger Kahn said the Michigan Department of Natural Resources budget is already spread thin. He said many other parks could use that money.

“So we’re talking about taking dollars from those areas where there is support for the parks and moving them, those precious dollars of which there are not enough, to another park that is not supported,” Kahn said on the Senate floor Tuesday, referencing the fact that Detroit’s city council and its two mayoral candidates oppose the state’s plan to lease Belle Isle.

The state budget sets aside about $2 million for Belle Isle this year. But Kahn said any serious restoration of the park will probably require about ten times that.

He said, even with a plan to charge people to park on the island, it will be difficult to come up with that kind of money without increasing state funding.

“The business plan to support this spend is, first of all, unavailable, and second of all, as reported in the newspapers, pretty dubious.”

Copyright 2013, MPRN