Volunteers, DNR spruce up Detroit's Belle Isle

Governor Snyder joins state tourism volunteers

DETROIT – Detroit's Belle Isle park is undergoing a makeover, and volunteers are helping make a difference.

The protests that were voiced when a bankrupt city of Detroit arranged for Belle Isle to become a state park have died down.

Eunice Fort is one Detroiter who now enjoys jogging on the island. She said she see positive changes.

"The bathrooms for one thing, they are open now and appear to be clean," Fort said.

Dead trees have been removed, flowers have been planted, and the presence of the state police is another change that Eunice Fort enjoys seeing.

"The presence of the state troopers, that makes you feel good, that's a safety factor," Fort said.

On Friday, 350 volunteers from the state's tourism industry were on the island, with one group working to put a new roof on a pavilion and give it a new coat of paint.

Ted Jackson of Clawson said he has a strong connection to Belle Isle.

"It's got great history. I have an aunt that I brought down last week, a 90-year-old, came down and told us about all the great things she used to do," Jackson said.

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder joined the group, grabbing a paint brush and doing his part to spruce up the park.

"Belle Isle has tremendous potential. It was a gem before and we are working to bring it back to be that gem for families and kids again," the governor said.

Visitors driving to the island will need to have a DNR transportation passport, which they will need to purchase with their annual registration.

Purchases of those passports in metro Detroit already are up 19 percent this year.