There has been debate in recent years over hosting the Grand Prix race on Belle Isle Park every summer. But the race proved beneficial to the park after all. The Belle Isle Fountain is expected to receive a $400,00 upgrade thanks to the fundraising Grand Prixmiere Gala that took place this summer.
Built in 1925, the James Scott Fountain, situated on the island park in Detroit could certainly use a makeover. Despite volunteer’s best efforts, the water fountain needs some work. The pipes and valves are leaky and the marble stature is in need of repairs that could takes years.
The Belle Isle Aquarium
The fountain is not the only area being improved on Belle Isle. The aquarium, built in 1904, is one of the oldest aquariums and had even shut down before. After reopening in 2012, the aquarium has made marked improvements. With just 10 open tanks at the moment, they are planning to fill three of those spots this fall. The goal is to have a full aquarium by this time next year.
Aquatic life isn’t the only improvement that has been made to the aquarium in recent years. Building renovations continue with repairing tiles, updating the lighting, and opening skylights. Improved signage is next on the agenda for the aquarium.
The Belle Isle Boat House
Another point on interest on Belle Isle is undergoing renovations as well. The Boat House, which used to be called the Detroit Boat Club, was built in 1902. Though it has a historic and beautiful structure, people often assume the building is closed because of its appearance. Until this point, volunteers have done what they could to restore the building by fixing windows and fixing stairway spindles.
In keeping the uniqueness of the boat house, the coming changes are expected to be restorative. A gala was held this spring as a fundraiser to preserve the historic building.
The Restoration Efforts of Belle Isle Park
Belle Isle Park, as a whole, has been a work-in-progress, but we continue to see efforts towards the restoration that go beyond the fountain upgrades. Restoring Lake Okonoko and connecting it to the Detroit River is expected to enhance the experience while fishing, canoeing, and kayaking the area.
According to the Belle Isle Park Strategic Management Plan, their action plan includes continued restoration of existing historic buildings, which include the Casino, and re-purposing buildings and structures that are no longer in use, such as the Children’s Zoo.
Masking upgrades to the Belle Isle Fountain is just one of many ways that the park is being restored to its previous condition. Along with the larger renovations, the park plans to improve picnic areas, gardens, and trails.