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Advisory aquarium question on ballot

Sunday, July 31, 2005


Advisory aquarium question on ballot

City voters Tuesday can voice their opinion on whether to reopen the historic Belle Isle facility.


Detroit voters will have a chance to voice their opinion about last spring's closing of the historic Belle Isle Aquarium.

City Council has put an advisory question on Tuesday's ballot to gauge public opinion about the administration's decision. The question reads, "Do you favor the City of Detroit reopening the Belle Isle Aquarium and restocking the Aquarium with a variety of domestic and exotic fresh and saltwater fish, plants and other aquatic species?"

Although City Council felt it was a worthy question, it still doesn't mean the aquarium will reopen if Detroiters vote yes. That's because Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's administration has no plans to reopen the building.

Last spring, the aquarium became a hotly contested topic as people in and out of Detroit rallied around the Belle Isle attraction. The Friends of Belle Isle Aquarium collected donations in fish bowls and held a fund-raising dinner.

City officials had said attendance at the aquarium had fallen off in recent years -- so much that it wasn't enough to justify spending $500,000 to keep the place running each year. Plus, officials cited the need for expensive structural improvements, such as a new roof.

Detroiters will weigh in on the matter on a ballot that includes 12 candidates for mayor, 120 candidates for City Council, four candidates for city clerk, 29 candidates for board of education at large and four candidates for board of education by districts. Voters will also be asked whether they want to renew a Wayne County parks millage authorized in 2000.


You can reach Judy Lin at (313) 222-2072 or jlin@detnews.com.