Post Number: 3
|Posted on Wednesday, October 06, 2010 - 1:48 pm: || |
|Posted on Thursday, January 20, 2005 - 11:33 am: || |
Issue: Closing of the Belle Isle Aquarium
Temporary closing? Cost of mothballing the Belle Isle Aquarium (BIA)
Loss of piece of the cultural history of Detroit
Belle Isle Aquarium as a cultural institution
Value Biological education
Draws people to the island
Closing BIA shows Detroit can't care for itself
Since the Belle Isle Aquarium has the above value, the BIA should not have to be totally self-supporting.
What are the actual financial numbers for BIA?
Recent renovation costs (are these counted in and artificially inflating the $500,000 per year?)
Expected renovation and repair costs?
Can the Detroit Zoo be trusted to supply accurate financial numbers?
The main zoo has been starving BIA
No joint events
No easy link to BIA website
No push for the BIA website
$4 admission charge -
I feel the BIA should be a Detroit tradition. A $1 or $2 per head charge would allow local metro people to visit the aquarium every time they are near Bell Isle.
Who are the players?
Who are the decision makers?
What are the critical decision points?
Can BIA be cut from the Detroit Zoo and stand on its own?
Will some other group buy the BIA?
Is talk of a new aquarium a pipe dream and diverting attention from BIA?
|Posted on Thursday, January 20, 2005 - 2:33 pm: || |
Yes, the BIA,can stand on it's own. But but in order for this to happen, Belle Islle, must be cleand up. Pick up the trash, clean up the wood'sand have regular police round's, to keep the Fool's, and Drunk's under control
|Posted on Thursday, January 20, 2005 - 4:58 pm: || |
If the aquarium is closed it will never reopen. What's next? The conservatory?
The adminstration made efforts to clean up the island, fix and paint the casinos, even found money for a new big stupid slide and now they're walking away from all that effort.
The $500,000 figure, if that's accurate, pales in comparison to things the city spends money on that benefit nobody. For comparison, here is what that money breaks down to....
- 20 leases for luxury SUVs that nobody admits to requisitioning or using.
- a full time staff for a council member who's been dead for months.
- a fraction of what was spent on streetlight boots that are now all busted open by routine snow plowing.
|a City retiree|
|Posted on Thursday, January 20, 2005 - 7:24 pm: || |
Please do NOT allow the closing of the Belle Isle Aquarium on Director Kagan's recommendations. This exhibit is one of Detroit's most beloved educational institutions. Attendance only plummeted after Kagan closed the Belle Isle Zoo. Without both exhibits open, most teachers took student field trips elsewhere in order to maximize their "day trip". The loss of the seasonal influx of student field trips was certainly the greatest percentage of the decline in attendance.
School students are certainly deserving of the meager operating costs of the Belle Isle Aquarium.
|Posted on Thursday, January 20, 2005 - 9:07 pm: || |
[quote]I feel the BIA should be a Detroit tradition. A $1 or $2 per head charge would allow local metro people to visit the aquarium every time they are near Bell[/quote]
I dont agree. You pay for what you get. Whats $4? Thats less than a pack of Cig's or a 6 pack of "good" beer. School tours get 50% off ( $2 per person ) now. I would say 90% of the population can afford a $4 entry fee.
The main reason people dont visit there, is they are afraid for thier families saftey. My last trip there wasnt a good one. I'm surely not going to exposed my family to any chance of them getting harmed. Even one of Detroits Police Commissioner's was robbed at gun point in July of 2003, by Bell Isle. We stopped going to the Zoo, fireworks display and the State Fair, for the same reasons. A person needs to "feel" his family is safe, in order to enjoy these things. How can that be done? Police presents atleast helps. Knowing you can get an officer's attention if needed, goes a long way.
I will make my last visit during the next week, knowing it is closing. I'll be driving 3 hours to get there, one last time. I will say my good bye's, just like I did when Bob-lo closed down. Its a shame other's actions keep nice things like BIA from staying alive.
|Posted on Friday, January 21, 2005 - 12:38 pm: || |
Brother Jim, I agree with you about the saftey issues, but to just give up, without trying to change things, is just laying down and dying.It is a tired saying, but one person, can make a difference. Instead of going to Funeral's, isn't it better, to see them when there alive? When you give up hope, thing's DO NOT CHANGE!!! Call your State and city rep's, to see what they are willing to do, if anything, and o from there.
|Posted on Friday, January 21, 2005 - 4:11 pm: || |
Perhaps we ought to ask Onterio for some 3rd world support for the Aquarium?
- Or seceede it to Canada, where they know how to take care of National Treasures?
|Posted on Friday, January 21, 2005 - 6:07 pm: || |
I havent totaly "Given UP". I sent a couple emails out, concerning my dismay of the plans to close BIA.
I hate to see it closing, when I know this is the only aquatic exposer for many school children, and one less place a family can go for a reasonable fee.
|Posted on Monday, January 24, 2005 - 1:26 pm: || |
It seems to me to be a good idea from what I see here to check that $500,000. figure in the City budget, available at DPL Main or the DPL Municipal Reference Library. $500,000. is a low-ball figure for running anything now, and removing it would have practically no effect on the budget deficit.
In general, I listened to Kilpatrick's speech, which seemed to me to crawling with inaccuracies and generally outlandish contentions. That Detroit is maintaining the same services as back in the '50's is such a cruel joke as to beneath comment.
|Posted on Monday, January 24, 2005 - 2:11 pm: || |
I also wanted to say something about admission fees. I think $1 or $2 is good, as it would encourage people visiting. But wouldn't it be possible to get the acquarium on the list for state tax credit? So a basic membership of say an annual payment of $20, and maybe a somewhat jazzed up one for more, would be in effect half paid for by the state. This would not be exactly timely given the state's budgetary problems, but it seems to be justifiable state support of local institutions, and would possibly put the aquarium on firmer financial footing.
Just an idea. I don't even know how to go about this one.
|Posted on Monday, January 24, 2005 - 4:38 pm: || |
Can anyone track down addresses for:
The Zoological Commission
The Zoological Society Board?
I intend to write a letter opposing the Aquarium's closure, and I'd like to cc it to all of the relevant parties. Some of these people have real input into the Zoo's direction and budget, and they are not as used to getting mail as ROn Kagan and the Mayor - they are probably a more vulnerable audience
I also wonder if anyone has accurate numbers for the annual electricity bill for the Arctic Ring of Life - I suspect it is more than the Aquarium's annual budget, and would make a great point of argument.
|Posted on Tuesday, January 25, 2005 - 11:20 am: || |
I'm not sure what the relationship is among these various entities, "Institute", "Society", "Commission", or what the legal description for any of them is. But, Ref.USA doesn't seem to find the Commission in either Royal Oak or Detroit. The Annual Report lists the Commissioners by name on the back cover of <http://www.detroitzoo.com/annual_report/all.pdf>
The address for the "society" is 8450 W. 10 MIle
Royal Oak, MI. 48067-3001. I would think the board could be addressed the same.
I don't know if this even helps, but I've got to run for now.
|Posted on Tuesday, January 25, 2005 - 11:48 am: || |
Hopefully, it has more to do with a still crowded schedule, etc. than age creeping up on me, but it didn't occur to me until showering that probably the Commission and the Board are the same thing, in which case the Commission could be addressed as in my just posted message. (8450 W. 10 MIle; Royal Oak, MI. 48067-3001)
|Posted on Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - 9:36 am: || |
The Detroit Zoological Society is a most influential body in this crisis.
A FOBIA member is working on compiling a list of Detroit Zoological Society members, including addresses and email where applicable.
It's hard reseach, because Zoo Director Ron Kagan does not exactly want rif-raf such as the likes of us actually letting them know just how much trouble he's got himself into.
There is some information at this location already. When the list is updated, it will be posted here:
If anyone has inside info for this list, please contact me!
|Posted on Sunday, January 30, 2005 - 9:16 pm: || |
I think its a disgrace this is happening, and that closing it is not only a loss to Detroit but the whole country, it is the OLDEST aqurium in the country, its a US landmark.
I already wrote this when I signed up, but cant this case be pleaded to one of the many famous people whom came from this city? We have several huge stars and well know personalities who are constantly talking about their home or lives in Detroit... They support local organizations, why not see if one of them would support this cause...
Or because of its status as the oldest aquarium couldnt the state help?
I just dont think that this aquarium should close, it will just be a matter of time before it looks like MSC...
The city is in a redevelopment stage, and things are looking good for it now, so why would they not want to put money into preserving an attraction on the most beautiful and unique park the city, (Id even be so bold as to say the state) has? Skip one of the dang parking structures and save our beloved Bell Isle and all of its attractions.
|Posted on Wednesday, February 02, 2005 - 7:58 pm: || |
I am quite far removed and have never been to your lovely aquarium, but is it possible to get this registered as a historical building? I don't know if that would allow you some extra funds.
From the outside looking in, I would suggest finding a corporation or some members in the community that are willing to put forth some money. Generally $530,000 is a lot of money to you and me, but generally each city has some people that are philanthropists and would love to help out. Another idea would be those school kids who seem to be able to make money by just bringing in pennies. Or just a fund raiser campaign at the local Wal-Mart or something. It seems a shame to let it go for a relatively small amount of money.
If the city/state are not willing/able to save it then perhaps privatizing it is a good thing. You just need someone who loves it as much as you do in charge.
Good luck. I hope you are able to save this. It appears to be a beautiful building and concept.
|Posted on Wednesday, February 02, 2005 - 10:06 pm: || |
I don't understand the reason that so many posts here are so antagonistic to the zoo president, Mr. Kagen. Reading some of the messages posted here make it seem like people think this guy has some sort of personal vendetta against the aquarium or something. I mean, if Kagen really had it out for the aquarium, why would he do something that so many people would object to right now, when it's sure to be high-profile? The city sure doesn't seem to have any problem laying hundreds of people off - if it were me, I'd just lay off a dozen more people to save the money, and then close the aquarium when some other issue had the public's attention.
You can look at the city budget on their web site - it looks like the city spends about 4 million a year on the "zoological institute" in royal oak and the 2 or 3 things on belle isle. And if you've been to the institute in recent years, you'll know they've spent all sorts of money on new displays, and cleaning things up. It can't be that Kagen is afraid to spend money. If you ask me, the 4,900,000 people of southeast Michigan have already voted with their feet - 20% of the population go the institute in royal oak, but only 1% visit the aquarium - and it's like four times as expensive, so it can't be the price. And he's spending some ungodly amount of money building a whole new zoo on belle isle over there by the golf course, so it must not be that Kagen doesn't want to do stuff on belle isle. I even saw Belle Isle Aquarium on a can of coke I bought last year, so they must be doing some sort of advertising. So I have to wonder what you hope to gain by bashing this guy - he's got to be taking orders from someone. Seems to me that you all are taking a stereotypical approach - hit first and ask questions later. Wouldn't it make more sense to go ask these folks what it would take to keep the aquarium open, and what we could do to help, instead of just waving your picket signs and feeling all high and mighty?
I'll just add that all those places (the institute, the aquarium, the nature place) are all paid for 100% by the tax dollars of City residents. Especially after the fine folks in Oakland County (13th weathiest in the nation) voted down the proposal to give every kid in the region a free field trip to the institute, the aquarium, the DIA, etc., to pay for those places on the backs of Detroiters, there shouldn't be anyone from the suburbs on here disrespectful enough to tell Detroiters what to do with their own money. For me, you can take whatever - i just want streetlights to work, garbage to be picked up, and the ambulance to come right away.
If you want to save the aquarium, then save it. But don't turn it into some political agenda.
|Posted on Thursday, February 03, 2005 - 9:37 am: || |
I agree that no one should personally attack Ron Kagan, but as it stands the aquarium will close and Ron Kagan has the power to stop that. The unfortunate truth though is that we just don't have a lot of time to build peaceful support for the aqarium.
The best we can do right now is bring immediate attention to bad ideas. The idea to close the aquarium is bad. It is expected that people would become angry when a piece of their cultuaral history is threatened.
This issue is bigger than Ron Kagan, and that is why it is political. It affects a lot of people. I would hope we can persude Ron Kagan to change his mind since not all that he has done is bad, but when I weigh the loss of the BIA against Ron Kagan's loss of popularity or even his employment, then all I can hope for him is that he will change his mind. Personally, I'd far rather educate someone then destroy them.
Ron Kagan needs to know people care about this aquarium and respond accordingly.
|Posted on Thursday, February 03, 2005 - 9:49 am: || |
It is unfortunate, Anonymus, that you are not seeing the big picture. This fight is not just about the aquarium. Every significant historic structure in the city that is closed, mothballed & left to decay leaves another hole, another reason not to come to the city, not to live here, not to invest here.
I live in Detroit. And yes, I want police, garbage pick up, lighting, all those things. But the only way to have these things is to have a vibrant thriving city - one that does not consist of empty vacant lots and abandoned landmarks. People don't come because they are afraid, not because they don't want an aquarium. Belle Isle is the only park like it in the world, and it is embarrassing what we have let it become. As Detroiters it is our fight, and one worth fighting. And to the suburbanites out there fighting with us - THANK YOU! When Detroit wins, we ALL win.
|Posted on Thursday, February 03, 2005 - 7:45 pm: || |
Don't you think it's incredibly naive to think that the zoo president has the power, by himself, to decree the aquarium open or closed? Perhaps Detroit is less of a bureaucracy than other cities, but in other places you can't even throw out a broken computer without six forms in triplicate... I can't imagine that a lone person has that much authority.
In any case, I still don't see what the zoo president has to do with "every significant historic structure in the city" and "vacant lots." Dawn, if you have a problem with Belle Isle, why not talk to the Parks Department?
I guess I just don't see how more divisiveness and conflict is going to help create a more vibrant city. My grandmother always said that you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar ...
Has anyone made an appointment with this guy?
|Posted on Saturday, February 05, 2005 - 6:24 pm: || |
The one thing I have not seen in any of these postings in any mention of accountability beyond the mayor or Ron Kagan.
Is anyone familiar with any forum where these decisions are managed by the zoo board of directors? Why is the zoo's governing board silent on this issue?
By virtue of having a governing body, they are subject to standard rules of order. Is there no one reading these posts who has an understanding of the zoo's means of due process?
As a broader issue, it should concern all that the proposal to close the aquarium could be made autonomously, if that is the case.
Light should be shown upon all zoo officials who support the closure. Until then, Ron Kagan is a reasonable target for criticism. At the least, the zoo governing body should hold him to account for spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to fix the floor only to close the aquarium three years later. That's just bad management.
This coupled with a goofy notion that a multi-million dollar aquarium can be built on the waterfront is further evidence that he isn't capable of managing this resource. If the financial powers behind the casinos can't break ground, how did Ron think this notion would succeed? Perhaps he is getting advice from Michael Jackson's amusement park developer. (remember that one...)
One last rant.
Having moved here from out of state, I lived here for about 4 years before ever hearing that there was an aquarium in Detroit. The only public advertisement of the aquarium I have ever seen is posted at the zoo exit, on an approximately one-square-foot sign. It was only then I knew the place wasn't a myth.
It is impossible to support what you are not aware of. Get the word out and save the place!
|Posted on Monday, February 07, 2005 - 10:10 am: || |
It occurs to me that a vibrant, active, ANGRY group like this might just be able to pull off something similar to the rescue of Meadow Brook Theatre on Oakland University's campus a year or two ago. The bureaucracy there was intent upon closing the venue, for similar reasons to this. It didn't fully support itself, cost too much in overhead, etc., etc. And it, too, had largely been left to die on the vine, making the complaints self-fulfilling prophecies.
The dedicated individuals intent on saving it ended up convincing the university to allow them to take the facility private, and raise the funds for it themselves. They worked out some very innovative arrangements, and now are providing a full season of theater there. They're struggling, but the doors are open. And the entire effort began with their stirring up a huge hue and cry among people in the region who didn't want to lose that resource, just as this group is doing now.
While that is a tall order--and, no, I don't know how to accomplish it--it strikes me as a possible goal to be tossed into the mix, because I somehow don't see financially drowning government entities, city or state, being willing to come to the rescue, no matter how small the amount or how much waste is rampant in other areas.
I'm certainly no expert, but it occurs to me that there probably are grant monies available that could help tremendously, including from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, since the building already is listed. There also would be plenty of opportunities to work actively with area school districts, rather than just offering discounts to students, to CREATE more of a market for the place, as well as make it available for rental to groups for a unique gathering place, create special family events focused on specific themes, etc., etc.; in short, MARKET it. But all avenues of help sort of hang on who has control of the place, and how much effort they're willing to expend.
I agree that a great place to start would be the zoo's directors, etc.--and a public posting of contact addresses and/or email addresses for all concerned would be a valuable service--but my suggestion would be to do more than complain about the impending closing. Do that along WITH some positive, innovative suggestions, as well as the offer to help implement them if a working arrangement could be forged. Perhaps they would like the opportunity to avoid the bad press that no doubt will come with the padlocking of yet another of Detroit's original jewels.
Just a few thoughts...
|Michael Bartlett (Mike)
|Posted on Wednesday, February 09, 2005 - 5:29 pm: || |
Those suggestions are excellent Cheryl. As one of the volunteers doing what I can to save the aquarium, we certainly need to educate ourselves about options we can offer those who are responsible for paying to keep it open. The other thing is to simply raise public awareness so that those who have resources to contribute are informed of the situation.
|Posted on Sunday, February 13, 2005 - 10:25 pm: || |
According to a previous post, there are almost 5 million people in the greater Metro area. What if everyone sent in $1 to the Friends of Belle Isle Aquarium? Collecting even $500,000 would be enough to keep it open for another year. That would give some time to plan a strategy to save the aquarium for the long term. How about it everyone? Send your money now. Well, I can't find an address to send it to. How about sending it to the Friends of Belle Isle in care of Detroit Zoo? Be sure to include a letter stating what it is to be used only for the aquarium.
|Posted on Monday, February 14, 2005 - 5:31 pm: || |
Problem is, if Kagan and the Mayor want it closed, no matter how much money you scrape together it'll all be for nought.
The Mayor has to realize that the closure of Belle Isle Aquarium is hugely unpopular, compromising his success in future elections, or he has no reason to give a lick.
|Posted on Tuesday, February 15, 2005 - 12:05 pm: || |
OK, I'm new here - what is the next step, and what can I do besides email and call the places listed? Is there a game plan in place? Any face-to-face talks? Are there minutes from the last meeting on the site - is anything planned for this week??
|Posted on Tuesday, February 15, 2005 - 12:21 pm: || |
OK, saw you events page - see you there Sunday with friends in tow. Should we make signs, will the media be alerted?
Let me know what else is needed.
|Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2005 - 2:50 pm: || |
Hi Margo, welcome on board!
Yes, signs would be great. And yes, media ought to be there.
|Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2005 - 10:47 am: || |
I will also be there on Sunday, hopefully with a few people. What kind of signs are you looking for?
|Posted on Thursday, February 17, 2005 - 12:25 pm: || |
FOBIA has doing a great job of getting more even-handed attention in the press Ė we need to let the media know what our responses are on the subject. In the last week, Iíve seen four articles, and it is very easy to send letters to the editor for all of them. Iím including links to the articles, the email address to which comments should be sent, and whatever format information the paper supplies on their website.
Detroit Free Press
LOCAL COMMENT: Belle Isle aquarium worth keeping
The E-mail address to send a letter to the editor is:
Please put the letter in text of the E-mail, not as an attachment.
All writers must provide full name, full home address and day and evening telephone numbers. Letters should be 200 words or less and are subject to editing. Anonymous letters, letters to third parties and letters to other publications will not be considered.
You can help keep Belle Isle Aquarium from going under
Betty DeRamus has been mentioning the Aquarium in a number of her columns Ė it would be nice to thank, her, too.
Youíll need to click on the box by the column by her article to comment, and it spells out the requirements.
An institution founders - Aquarium may be sunk; its allies fish for solutions http://www.metrotimes.com/editorial/story.asp?id=7 293
Your letter (200 words or less, please) must be signed and must include your city of residence (which will be printed) and a phone number for verification (which we won't print). Letters without these items cannot be published. If you e-mail us, we'd like permission to print your e-mail address, but that isn't mandatory. All letters may be edited for length and clarity.
The Daily Oakland Press
Supporters say aquarium is worth saving
I couldnít find more info (200 words, use your real name and include contact info seems like a good bet) but I emailed my comments to:
|Posted on Saturday, February 19, 2005 - 12:13 am: || |
Excellent, Susan - thanks!
|Posted on Monday, February 21, 2005 - 2:31 pm: || |
Here again the City of Detroit is closing a historical building that people love and visit because the major of Detroit can't control his own personal spending of the city's money for his own benifit. So in his eyes the aquarium is a dent in is own pocket book. They have all ready closed down the zoo... so what else is going to be left on belle isle besides the deer...or is the major going to move them to, to another location. How many more historical places need to be lost..the city needs to do something with their personal spending problems...like the building they are paying for but not using....here is an idea Mr. Major leave the aquarium alone and charge people to visit the island and fix it up...bring back the attractions that used to bring belle isle alive years ago...like the pony rides...maybe you don't remember those days but other people do...by doing this it is ruining family traditions like the one that has been going on in my family for 5 generations now...
|Michael Bartlett (Mike)
|Posted on Monday, February 21, 2005 - 7:14 pm: || |
We do have significant plans in the works. Today FOBIA has earned the ear of the Detroit City Council, and this opens many doors for us when it comes time to lay a foundation for future plans. There a great many people with great enthusiasm who are just looking for ways to contribute. Up to now our primaty focus has been buiding support and raising public awareness. Each contributing person deserves congratulations and thanks. Everyone has been great. However, it will be time to switch gears shortly. There is a lot more coming and we will need people making constructive contributions more than ever. I am very proud to be associated with this group, so stay tuned. More is coming.
|Posted on Monday, February 21, 2005 - 9:41 pm: || |
I remember the pony carts. What about canoeing?
|Posted on Tuesday, February 22, 2005 - 9:52 am: || |
This is really sad, but I feel like the closing of the Belle Isle aquarium is not on a nail in the coffin for the fascinating fish that reside there (I remember watching with interest the story a couple of years ago about the fish that made its own babies without a father present) but also for vibrancy of the city as a whole.
I used to live in Ann Arbor, and currently live in Lansing due to work situations for my husband and I. However, we used to drive down to Detroit and fantasize about what a dream it would be for us to buy one of those nice lofts and live right in the city. Our many trips to Detroit usually involved a combination of touring our dream lofts, eating at Blue Nile (now no longer in Detroit), maybe stopping by the Old Shillelagh for a drink, and, always at my prompting, taking a relaxing driving tour around Belle Isle. I have been to the aquarium (I love aquariums) and while it is not some super-aquarium like Monterrey Bay in California (which by the way costs about $20 to enter), it is cute and quaint and cool.
Which brings me to my main point. The Governor has been talking for ages about "Cool Cities" and attracting a young, educated workforce to our cities, including Detroit. My husband is a young attorney, and I have a master's degree. We are exactly the kind of people that should be attracted to Detroit, helping make it vibrant and diverse.
Well, we are not considering Detroit anymore. If my husband gets a position in Detroit, we would move to the Ferndale/Royal Oak area. Detroit politics and the willingness to offer cheap fixes like removing the last remianing cultural treasures in the city make it increasingly unappealing. Closing cultural treasures is not "cool."
Maybe you should consider appealing directly to the Governor on this through a coordinated letter writing campaign. The department of History, Arts and Libraries may also have an interest and some expertise to help save this institution.
On a final unrelated note, we also used to visit Detroit every single year for the Detroit Electronic Music Festival, along with people from all over the world. Now, that appears to be in jeapordy, too. What a loss that would be to the city, which is recognized worldwide as a cultural mecca and the birthplace of techno music. Detroit is losing its history and culture for short term expediency.
Just some thoughts from an outsider, who wanted to be part of the community, but really does not anymore.
|Posted on Thursday, February 24, 2005 - 8:53 am: || |
I think its time for some big name company's to step up to the plate and help out FOBIA. 2 months is hardly enough time to come up with the needed money. If we could get a big name company or a few of them to give FOBIA enough money to operate for 1 year then FOBIA can start fundraising to raise money to keep the BIA open for more years to come. So lets see Ford's, Home Depot, Target, Farmer Jack, General Motor's, Chrysler, and more take some action to save this historic landmark.
|Posted on Thursday, February 24, 2005 - 11:37 am: || |
I could not agree more. Sometimes I think our governor is living in a fantasy world. She seems to be under the impression that trendy coffee shops and martini bars are the answer for every city's problems. I too am Granholm's target demographic for her cool cities campaign. I have lived in Jackson and Ypsilanti (targeted "cool cities") Ann arbor (the "model cool city") and now Detroit for 4 years. Detroit already is, in my opinion, the coolest city I have lived in by a landslide.
I agree that the state should step in and pump some of it's cool city money into maintaining Detroit's already existing cool structures and institutions.
I have already written her about the Belle Isle Aquarium- perhaps FOBIA should consider some sort of proposal?
|Posted on Thursday, February 24, 2005 - 1:10 pm: || |
Here is a very interesting article I read today. Perhaps the leader of FOBIA should contact the man spearheading the campaign mentioned in this article for a donation....I'm sure he has connections to other people or groups who would make a donation.
|Posted on Thursday, February 24, 2005 - 2:01 pm: || |
I just saw an excellent editorial in support of the aquarium on WDIV, which triggered a couple of thoughts regarding potential sources of funding for the aquarium:
1. Cool Cities Initiative - it looks like the Detroit advisory group might be run from the mayor's office, but surely the city is interested in pursuing funding to maintain a tourist destination in the city? A couple of categories mentioned on the Cool Cities website are Downtown Waterfront Redevelopment and Sustainability, and Historic Preservation. Saving Belle Isle institutions would certainly qualify under both categories -- go after any available state funding!
2. Garfield Conservatory in Chicago was near ruin in a fairly scary neighborhood when a special exhibit was mounted there by Dale Chihuly. For those who didn't see the exhibit, Chihuly specially designed glass sculptures that were interspersed amongst the plants in the conservatory (a beautiful old glass structure similar to the one on Belle Isle...). The effect was magical and brought people in from around the country. The conservatory was not only saved, but is now the center of a massive neighborhood revitalization. Any chance of getting a Dale Chihuly, Christo or similar artist to mount an exhibition to bring in people and money to the aquarium?
You can only close so many venues down before you just close down the city entirely and give up on the future of our great state...
|Posted on Thursday, February 24, 2005 - 2:09 pm: || |
The Belle Isle Botanical Society is already working on a Chihuly exhibit - I can't remember if it is slated for 2006 or 7, but it it is in the works ( they schedule it years in advance).
One of the problems has been the status of the Aquarium, frankly - it is hard to fund raise for one facility when the other is in jeopardy, but it looks like it will happen.
|Posted on Thursday, February 24, 2005 - 2:48 pm: || |
There is a website that might be worth looking into for Awards or Grants to save the aquarium. http://www.aza.org/ This is The American Zoo and Aquarium Association which lists this aquarium as part of the association. There are a number of grants that the FOBIA may want to look into. It doesn't look like the association is even aware of the closing from the research that I have done on the website. It might be worth a try if anyone has the time to contact them.
|Posted on Thursday, February 24, 2005 - 7:51 pm: || |
AFter reading so many of the prior open-minded, thought provoking and creative ideas, it's unfortunate that the individuals responsible for such a wonderful facility are the same folks that have been entrusted with other Detroit area landmarks and have let those fall into ruin and neglect.
And one final comment. Don't jump on any bank wagons. Be ashamed if you find yourself in line at the 11th hour. Where were you all these years with your children, family and friends?
|Show me the $$$!|
|Posted on Friday, February 25, 2005 - 12:34 am: || |
Kagen was recently mysteriously fired as head of the Detroit Zoological Society, which has one of the worse efficiency tracks record in the country (That means after expenses, like his $40K salary on top of his $140K zoo director salary, there is little left to pass onto the real cause).
There should be an investigation into how he handled funds donated to the Aquarium via the Detroit Zoological Society that were earmarked for the Aquarium. Where did those funds go? His silence on this is deafening.
Meanwhile, he has already started to dismantle the Aquarium. The Sea Horses are gone. Does this sound like someone who we can rely upon for support? KAGEN HAS GOT TO GO!
|Posted on Friday, February 25, 2005 - 11:47 am: || |
Does the update on the meeting agenda mean that the aquarium will not stay open for 2 more months? Is that because the mayor has given the final word. Is there still a chance of saving it if this is the case??
|Posted on Friday, February 25, 2005 - 1:59 pm: || |
It is not looking good. In some ways, though, Tom Walsh's critical column in the Free Press today suggests that Kagan still feel needs to lobby hard to close the aquarium - huge chunks were taken verbatim from Zoo PR pieces, so I suspect that someone there (at the zoo) put in a plug for another negative column as the recent reporting has been uncharacteristically even-handed. The zoo is not used to this - they normally just get a captive audience from the press - direct from Kagan's mouth to the public ear.
It couldn't hurt to keep up the pressure a bit longer.
|Michael Bartlett (Mike)
|Posted on Saturday, February 26, 2005 - 3:47 pm: || |
If we are to be taken seriously by major donors, then it is time to own this problem. Use the pay pal button on this site. Decide what this aquarium is worth to you and generations to come. Decide what the faith of Detroiters who came before us is worth too. I do not believe there will ever be a better rallying point to turn this city around than this aquarium. Perhaps this is our darkest hour, but that is when heros are made. I don't expect anyone to give up food, shelter or clothing, but setting aside money that might be used to go out to dinner or even take a late winter trip to Florida is in order. By taking responsibility we are empowered. Make the biggest donation you can afford. I did.
|Posted on Sunday, February 27, 2005 - 11:41 am: || |
Guess you guys ought to give up.
|Michael Bartlett (Mike)
|Posted on Sunday, February 27, 2005 - 1:11 pm: || |
If you could present an argument where it was clear that people would be better served for giving up, then I would entertain the notion. So far, I have not heard one thing that suggests that good things will come to Belle Isle or Detroit for giving up. To me, the things worth having are worth my sacrifice. With all due respect, I realize that not everyone shares that view, but fortunately we don't need everyone. Giving up is not a reasonable option to me.
|Jason S. Myers
|Posted on Tuesday, March 01, 2005 - 2:33 pm: || |
Why hasn't anybody talked about the HCMA?
I just started a new thread about a letter that I sent to them.
HCMA is funded partially by Detroit taxes, but does not serve Detroit residents. They considered making Belle Island a MetroPark, but would have to charge admission. The aquarium already does charge admission.
|Posted on Tuesday, March 01, 2005 - 4:48 pm: || |
Detroit Zoological Institute and the Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority (HCMA) today announced the establishment of a partnership to develop and implement an interpretive nature program at the Belle Isle Nature Zoo. The endeavor is poised to establish the nature zoo as a centralized hub for local nature conservators.
Under the terms of the partnership, HCMA will be responsible for assisting with the development and implementation of an exciting wildlife nature program at the Belle Isle Nature Zoo, focused on teaching urban residents about Michigan's natural world. Highlighting Michigan's flora and fauna, the interrelationships found in nature, and human and natural history of Southeast Michigan, the interpretive program's activities, projects and exhibits will instill an appreciation of, and stewardship for, the natural environment.
"The HCMA is looking forward to embarking on this second joint venture with the Detroit Zoological Institute at the Belle Isle Nature Zoo, particularly in light of our successful seven-year partnership working on the Osprey program together," said Gary C. Bartsch, HCMA Director. Added William E. Kreger, HCMA Commissioner representing Wayne County: "We are honored to be asked by the Detroit Zoological Institute to support such an important undertaking."
The Detroit Zoological Institute and Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority partnership officially commences in the fall of 2004, with the introduction of programs at the Belle Isle Nature Zoo for school groups and the general public. Outreach programs for organized groups will be added within the initial year of operation. During the five-year partnership, HCMA will provide interpretive support staffing and programming. HCMA's leadership in providing environmental education, recreation and interpretive series companied with the Detroit Zoological Institute's expertise in developing conservation work and innovative exhibitory will lend for a successful plan.
Ron Kagan, Detroit Zoological Institute Director, stated, "Michigan literally is teeming with wildlife. The new Belle Isle Nature Zoo interpretive program will provide Detroit residents with a wonderful way to learn and interact with nature in our own backyard. The Belle Isle Nature Zoo will greatly benefit from HCMA's vast experience."
The Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority has provided parks and recreation service to the residents and visitors of Livingston, Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw, and Wayne counties for over 60 years. The HCMA currently consists of 13 parks enjoyed by over 10 million visitors annually.
|Posted on Tuesday, March 01, 2005 - 5:48 pm: || |
This press release was issued last year -
The partnership is underway, but has been hampered by the complete lack of progress on the Nature Zoo. (First they closed the old zoo because it was in a wetland, and then they decided to relocate to a lower, wetter wetland). Huron-Clinton may be a great long-term option but it won't work in the short run.
I have not gotten the impression that HCMA is thrilled with the zoo as a partner, either, now that they know them a little better....
If all we had to go on were zoo press releases things would be looking bleak - in my experience they are not a reliable source of information.
|Michael Bartlett (Mike)
|Posted on Tuesday, March 01, 2005 - 9:46 pm: || |
Those with connections to the HCMA are encouraged to ask them what they can do to help the aquarium. If it specifically pertains to financial support, then please send me more information by email. For my part, I will find more information about them to see if we can either work together, or at least gain some insight.
|Jason S. Myers
|Posted on Wednesday, March 02, 2005 - 4:03 pm: || |
BTW - In the other thread about the open letter, I have posted a response from Mr. Moilanen at HCMA.
|Posted on Friday, March 04, 2005 - 11:49 am: || |
"If all we had to go on were zoo press releases things would be looking bleak - in my experience they are not a reliable source of information."
Well Duh Suzan, I know that all too well
|Posted on Saturday, March 05, 2005 - 8:20 am: || |
Anybody remeber Fort Wanye? Yes I remember the pony rides. I used to visit many times when I was a child with my Grandparents. We would always go to all the exhibts there. I want to take my children there also,but seems that something always came up. One day looking for Lee was there,and I got My Husband to agree to go . Next weekend.
| Vance Patrick|
|Posted on Saturday, March 05, 2005 - 6:47 pm: || |
THANK YOU ALL 2005 PEOPLE WHO CAME TO THE AQUARIUM TODAY YES 2005 PEOPLE. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU !!!!!!!
|The youth of Detroit
|Posted on Saturday, March 05, 2005 - 9:50 pm: || |
Why not start an email chain and set a time and date to get as many people involved to come down to the BIA and donate one dollar and help keep this place open. Everyone is stating we should do this we should do that. Well if it is appliable and we are able to then lets do it. Why say and not do we should do and continue to say. This is not just effecting Belle Isle but Detroit as well as most of the people out there that have at least ONE memory of this Island. It is truly clear that we will not get any help from the Mayor it is clear but if us "little" people stand up and believe for what you believe in. Everything starts small why not start with the smaller people and work big.
|Posted on Saturday, March 05, 2005 - 9:53 pm: || |
Just go say goodby
|The youth of Detroit
|Posted on Saturday, March 05, 2005 - 10:13 pm: || |
you are just one person, If you keep saying "just go say goodby" to people's forums they will go and help raise the money so actually in tern you are helping us save the aquarium. Make sure your immature self goes to ALL of the forums and say that. I guess you are not that big of a man now are you!!! fortunately the BIA will stay open and you will just make a total @$$ out of yourself. Hmm is that why you are anonymous.
|Michael Bartlett (Mike)
|Posted on Sunday, March 06, 2005 - 11:58 pm: || |
I love your spirit. Don't let anyone steal your fire. I suggest your best strategy for dealing with bad attitude is to ignore it. You could have a great idea. I'm not quite sure how that works. If you could send me an email I'm the head of fundraising, and I may be able to use it if I understand it.
|Posted on Friday, March 11, 2005 - 9:52 pm: || |
Dear Youth of Detroit --- I am so impressed with your passion. Our mission is to focus on the immediate need to preserve, protect and support the Belle Isle Aquarium for the next 100 years --- for all of us. Please try to come out to the Aquarium on Saturday. I will be there and would love the opportunity to meet you.
|Posted on Thursday, March 31, 2005 - 9:23 am: || |
Let's face the facts. Belle Isle and the Detroit Zoo are expensive to operate and maintain. These "jewels" are enjoyed by the regional community. Rather than continue to burden Detroit with these expenses, Detroit, the southeastern communities, counties and the state should enter into discussions to explore making these two truly priceless assets regionally owned and operated similar to a metro park authority.
|Posted on Sunday, April 03, 2005 - 11:24 am: || |
To all that have written somthing, i am only 28 years old and i have 3 children who have only been able to expieriance the traits of detroit only because of closer. Who do we have to thank for all of this? We have to look at who is in charge of finances and what ever else is need or done, and obviously the person doesnt know what they are doing so know the city of detroit has to suffer from somone elses mistakes. If the city was that determined to keep open the aquarium or even at the time the zoo they would be kept open no they are going to look like everything else in detroit, OLD, BOKEN DOWN BUILING, that the city is still going to have to pay for. As i said im 28 years old lived in detroit my whole life til now and im still not that far but the children of today and tomarrow will never see the city as i and thats a shame that no one really cares for detroit anymore cause if they did it wouldnt be the way that it is... Today being 4/3/05 is my last time me or my children will ever see the finer things of detroit and its because no one really cares!
|Posted on Monday, April 04, 2005 - 9:42 am: || |
What are we do now? Are you still taking donations.Please post what is going on. Is anyone going to the game today? Bring our signs to help to re-open the aquarium asap.The "mayor" will be there,it would be one way to get his attention.Maybe have a rally up in front of the stadium. I will be there,come out and Join me. There will be national press there. That he will not like.He would put a black mark on him. It would show him in a not of a nice light.Pre-game starts at 12:30.SEE everyone there.
|Posted on Monday, April 18, 2005 - 8:13 am: || |
I have a question,I had a change drive out in Dearborn Heights in a gas station. I went in there yesterday to check on it, and it was missing. I asked a employee were it was at. His reply was a DH business employee came in and took it. She said they could not have it out, that you needed a special permit to have it out. I never heard of such of a thing,but you never know.I want to know if this is true,or a line of bull. Can anyone tell me if this is true?
|Posted on Monday, April 18, 2005 - 11:28 am: || |
I'm not aware of any such permits. I see canisters for causes at all kinds of businesses and I have one for the Michigan Humane Society at a pet store but then the MHS is already licensed as a non-profit organization. Maybe that's the problem if it's a real problem. Does anyone know if a cause has to be an established non-profit for a canister to be put in place at a business? I've had my canisters stolen before from other places but have never gotten the excuse that you received when I inquired about it.
|Posted on Monday, April 18, 2005 - 12:35 pm: || |
i would call the city of dearborn heights. about a month ago there were canisters and people collecting for a young soldier from dearborn heights who was badly injured in iraq. there was a canister at the basketball complex owned by the city, during a game. i would call dearborn heights.
|Posted on Tuesday, April 19, 2005 - 8:14 am: || |
So has anyone say they would defenitly re-open the aquarium? Or is it up to us? Can someone please post it. I cannot go to any of the meetings,but I can post some flyers around town. Second, are the new flyers available yet.I don't see them here.