Detroit to be forced to sell Belle Isle My grandmother used to talk about the end times, and would scour current events and the weather for evidence of the Biblical signs foretelling the Earth's final days. I find myself doing the same thing with the city of Detroit.
Last week, Mayor Dave Bing provided a clear signal of the city's coming apocalypse. Faced with an existential moment demanding life-or-death decision making, the mayor instead stalled for time.
Detroit is out of time, and Bing's failure to act decisively to turn back the cash flow crisis makes it inevitable that an emergency manager will be appointed by the state to make the hard decisions and common sense reforms that should have been made decades ago.
It won't be pretty. And it may not save the city.
Bing won't slash the 2,300 employees, including 800 police and firefighters, that need to go now to replenish the city's coffers because he's rightly fearful that the impact on services and safety will accelerate the exodus from Detroit. His counter is to promise 1,000 layoffs soon. Not enough. The emergency manager will mail far more pink slips.
Bing is hoping he can avoid mass privatization of city services, including the bus system, by bringing in outside managers to make them more efficient. It's too late for that. The emergency manager will outsource any service that can be provided cheaper by someone else, and buses likely will go.
Bing hasn't put any of the city's "jewels" on the auction block. The emergency manager will hold a fire sale. Say goodbye to City Airport, the city's power plant, and anything else that isn't nailed down. Selling assets to clean up the balance sheet will be Job One. Detroit News
[Editor's Note: The author rightly points out that an appointed manager would be forced to sell lots of the City of Detroit’s assets. While not mentioning Belle Isle in this article, the island certainly would draw interest in such a fire sale. On one hand, a wealthy investor (or group of investors) could see restoring the Belle Isle casino and marina back to its former glory. Still more attractive is the rest of the island, which would be attractive for millionaire’s mansions, being close to GM World Headquarters as well as surrounded by a natural moat. What that would mean for the IndyCar and Grand-Am races is anyone's guess.]