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Freman Hendrix

WWJ Mayoral candidate Freman Hendrix interview
Hosted by Vicki Thomas

October 12, 2005

Listen To WWJ Aquarium segment - MP3 file

Vicki Thomas: "The next question is about Belle Isle Development..."

Listeners Question: " I live down here in the Belle Isle area and all of a sudden they blocked off the area, but I noticed a few folks could get in. Are they planning on just white folks going to own Belle Isle and having just exclusively owned for the rich and not admit black folks? Are they going to build condominiums on Belle Isle?"

Freman Hendrix:

  • Does not support any economic development on Belle Isle for private investors.
  • Belle Isle is in need of repair and upgrade.
  • Identify revenue sources - Detroit pays Huron Metro Park $1.5 million in taxes every year, but gets none of that back for Detroit City parks. Redirect a portion of that 1.5 million dollars back to Belle Isle.
  • In favor of voters voting to see if they would support a modest entrance fee to support Belle Isle.
  • Wants to bring back canoes, horses and bikes to the island. Let entrepreneurs and vendors bring that back to the island.
  • Get the Detroit Boat Club up and running, with a four star restaurant.
  • Never give up ownership. Reopen the Aquarium. Reopen the Dawson Museum, Reopen the Belle Isle Zoo.
  • Proposes reopening all with a revenue stream generated with the revenue stream suggested above.

Vicki: "So you're in favor of re-opening the Belle Isle Aquarium as opposed to a super-aquarium like the mayor was talking about last night?"

  • It's not one versus the other
  • It's (Belle Isle Aquarium) is the oldest aquarium in America. It's ours and it belongs on the Island. Whatever we do with a super-aquarium is fine. Grand ideas sound good, but we've got to find out where we'll get the funding for it.
  • $250,000 dollars plus the revenues that can be generated at the Aquarium itself with some aggressive publicizing, we wouldn't have to close the Aquarium.
  • People were heartbroken when they heard the Aquarium was being closed down, fish were being exported out to other aquariums around the country, that the Dawson Museum is virtually closed and that the Belle Isle Zoo is closed.
  • We need to open all of those institutions back up.
  • Committed to doing that the first year by getting some of the unconventional revenue sources dedicated to Belle Isle.