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From the Detroit News:

Gov. Rick Snyder and Mayor Dave Bing Wednesday morning announced a 30-year deal for the state to lease and operate Belle Isle, with the state promising millions in improvements in public safety and recreational opportunities.

The proposed lease agreement must go through City Council for approval. The deal will be presented to the panel later today.

“This is an exciting day,” Snyder said. “This is a great opportunity about continuing a partnership…for the benefit of the citizens of Detroit and all Michiganders.”

Snyder was not specific about how much the state plans to invest, saying only it would be “in the millions” and would include both short- and long-term improvements. The Department of Natural Resources would issue bonds for improvements, he said.

Short-term upgrades would include sprucing up recreation shelters, athletic fields and restrooms, Snyder said. Public safety will be beefed up to make the island more family-friendly, he said. In the long term, there could be more opportunities for fishing, kayaking and other water activities, he said.

The tentative plan calls for Belle Isle to become a state park under which vehicles driving to the island would be charged $10 to get an annual pass good for all Michigan state parks, he said. The fees would be instituted beginning in March. Visitors entering the park via public transportation or on foot will not be charged.

Your thoughts? ~Randi

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