After much discussion and uproar over the past few weeks, the Belle Isle Conservancy has put rumors to rest: no hotels, condos, or residences, will be built on the island. The only way to stay overnight on Belle Isle will be in a tent with your camping equipment.
President of the Belle Isle Conservancy, Michele Hodges, explained that while the island's team had considered placing a hotel on the grounds, public opinion definitely outweighed their intrigue. Residents across Metro Detroit spoke up against commercial property on the island, and their voices were certainly heard loud and clear. Hodges cleared up any misconceptions, and firmly stated that no hotels will be placed on the island, but a few other commercial amenities may start appearing.
She emphasized to the public that only the good of Belle Isle will be considered with any project moving forward and making the park an even more desirable location for everyone across the state. The entire conservancy board agreed that maintaining Belle Isle's appeal as a historic public park will always be the main goal.
What commercial ideas are being considered for the island? Here are just a few that are currently on the table:
- Food - Currently, there are no dining options on Belle Isle. The idea of a restaurant may look more like a cafe than a sit down formal event. This would allow visitors to spend more time on the island, rather than leaving mid-day to eat a meal. In years past, Belle Isle used to have simple foods such as a hot dogs, hamburgers, and ice cream, so this concept wouldn't be completely off base.
- Camping - While it won't appear in abundance, the conservancy is looking for limited camping options across the park. Ideally, they would like the camping experience to cater to younger generations that can learn more about the habitat, and gain information experience wouldn't otherwise learn in a classroom.
- Recreation- Discussion of rental water sports such as kayaks and canoes has been in discussion for several months. Additionally, renting bicycles is also an option that the conversancy is considered for visitors. Public opinion has supported this idea and vendors have already been selected to move forward with the project.
Hodges emphasized in a recent public appearance that the conservancy's goal is to not only maintain and revitalize the public park of Belle Isle, but to also engage visitors in a more unique experience.