Mayor Kilpatrick's aunt State Rep. Marsha Cheeks and his cousin Patricia Peoples are spearheading a plan to privatize a swath land on Belle Isle's north shore to build a Maritime Academy.
This charter school would be a residential high school open to past-risk students across the state. Under the plan, land from the Detroit Boat Club to Inselruhe Rd. would be used for a multi-acre complex of classrooms, dormitories, gymnasium, pool and other facilities. A parking lot would be created in the interior of the island for hundreds of cars, paving over additional green space.
The plan calls for the Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority to help finance construction by issuing bonds for the school. The foundation already has received a $160,000 grant from the state to help develop the complex, which would open in 2010.
The cookie the mayor's family is giving us is a restored Boat House that would be used as marina and restaurant as an additional source of money for the school. As an added bonus, the school's gymnasium, swimming pool and other facilities could be open to the public during the summer and the dormitories might be used as rooms for visitors during the Grand Prix or other events.
We have already lost 10 acres of green space to the Grand Prix paddock. How much more development can the Belle Isle take? Would this project open Belle Isle to more development in the future? Should public parkland be given to a private entity? If you oppose this development please let the Detroit City Council know your feelings. Also, contact the Friends of Belle Isle and lend your support.
THE FRIENDS OF BELLE ISLE
8109 East Jefferson
Detroit, MI 48214
Phone: (313) 331-7760 Fax: (313) 331-1500