Belle Isle lease could be 1st of more for Detroit assets

Detroit's water department could be next up for leasing

DETROIT – Detroit's City Council now has 10 days to either approve a deal to lease Belle Isle to the state of Michigan or come up with something better.

Under the deal, the city retains ownership but Belle Isle will become a state park.

Details: State signs 30-year lease for Belle Isle

"The issue it what's in the lease," said City Council President Saunteel Jenkins. "So making sure that Detroiters still have full access to the island is important for me."

This is just the first of the deals Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr is looking to cut when it come to maximizing city assets. With the howl over possibly selling off any part of the Detroit Institute of Art's collection, bankruptcy attorney Mike Greiner says there is something else out there that makes the DIA look like small potatoes.

"Well certainly one of the big ones, as far as I am concerned, is the water department. If there is anywhere, I think, that the city has a lot of value locked up is in the water department," he said.

Detroit's water department may be the greatest asset the city has. Orr and crew will be back in federal court on Wednesday to deal with a challenge by the NAACP to the emergency manager law and a request from AFSCME to reinstate checks from the pension funds to active city workers.

Greiner characterizes all of this as:

"The rest of this is just noise."

About the Author: