How Can Belle Isle Blossom in the Future?

WDET’s Travis Wright hosts Detroit Today and speaks with Todd Scott, the executive director for Detroit Greenways Coalition, about future plans for Belle Isle.

Belle Isle has long been held as an oasis in the urban landscape of Detroit and residents have mixed feelings about the possibility of future development. Some of the key points of the discussion:

  • Sidewalks for pedestrians. A $4 million dollar road project undertaken by MDOT recently removed many of  the sidewalks from Belle Isle causing pedestrians to walk in bike lanes. More sidewalks would create more separation between cyclists and pedestrian visitors. On the other hand, the addition of even more concrete to the island could generate storm water run-off that potentially could have negative effects on the environment of the island itself and the Detroit River.
  • Doubts about development. Residents are concerned that development on the island is unnecessary when there are plenty of opportunities for development elsewhere in the city. Some would rather that the island instead be returned to what it used to be, saying that just because Belle Isle can be developed, doesn’t necessarily mean that it should.
  • Possible opportunities for non-permanent structures. While a hotel may not be a welcome addition to the island landscape, other creative ideas such as mobile food vendors and a camping area for Detroit youth are discussed. For the residents of Detroit, returning Belle Isle to a more natural state as a place to escape the city lifestyle and find peace is paramount.

Find out what Travis, Todd Scott, and Detroit’s own residents have to say about the island’s future possibilities by listening to the full story.

Hear the full conversation by clicking the audio link above.

Image credit: Brent Ross

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