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Detroit group offers alternative to controversial Belle Isle plan

A Detroit-based group says it has developed a model to refurbish Detroit’s Belle Isle without turning it into a state park.

The group says a Belle Isle Park Authority could both run the island, and provide a mechanism for making needed investments.

Tom Barrow, a former Detroit mayoral candidate and a spokesman, said the plan includes a governing structure, entry fees, and other revenue sources.  

“All in all, we think that the city of Detroit can control this. It requires some creativity, which I think we’ve outlined the framework for. It’s more than a starting point, because it’s been thought through very well,” he said.

Plans for Belle Isle have proved politically contentious. The Detroit City Council has so far blocked a proposal to fold it into the state parks system.

Discussions are expected to continue this week.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Radio in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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