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City Council Stalls Public Hearing On Belle Isle Lease Deal

DETROIT (WWJ) - Detroit City Council has indefinitely postponed a public hearing on a proposal for the state to lease Belle Isle and run it as a state park. Councilman Ken Cockrel says he's open to a lease, but says he doesn't want it to be a distraction from the larger issue of fixing the city's finances.

"I do appreciate the fact that I think we have a governor who really is, truly has a genuine commitment to wanting to work with the city of Detroit and be a supportive partner," said Cockrel. "But if we're going to do a partnership on Belle Isle, it's gotta be a partnership that makes sense."

Council President Pro Tem Gary Brown says all sides need to get together.

"This has to be negotiated between the three parties, the state , the mayor's office, and members of this body... whether it's the committee or members that you appoint need to go into a room and see, if  in fact, a plan can be hammered out."

Council members say the state has yet to respond to its request that guarantees of millions of dollars in upgrades to the island be put in writing.

The council's decision means the proposal can't go forward until council members get what they want: more funding guarantees from the state as well as a fuller hearing on alternative proposals for the island park.

Mayor Dave Bing has said that he was optimistic he'd be able to overcome council opposition to the lease and eventually have Belle Isle run as a state park.

Read related story, here.

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