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Senate budget chairman blasts Belle Isle proposal

State Sen. Roger Kahn (R-Saginaw Twp.)

One of the top lawmakers in charge of Michigan’s budget is blasting the state’s plan to lease Belle Isle and turn it into a state park. On the Senate floor today, Appropriations Chair Roger Kahn (R-Saginaw Twp.) said the Michigan Department of Natural Resources budget is already spread too thin.

“So we’re talking about taking dollars from those areas where there is support for the parks,” Kahn said,
“and moving them – those precious dollars of which there are not enough – to another park that is not supported,” a reference to the fact that the Detroit City Council and the city’s two candidates for mayor oppose the state’s plan.

This year’s state budget includes about $2 millionfor Belle Isle. But Kahn says it would probably take around $20 million to make adequate improvements to the park.

This week, the Detroit City Council rejected the state’s 30-year lease proposal. It countered with a 10-year lease plan. The final decision will be made by a state board.

“The business plan to support this spend is, first of all, unavailable, and second of all … pretty dubious,” said Kahn.