Program: Mackinac Island park operations and historical facilities system

Appropriation:

Special Revenue Funds:

$1,379,000

GF/GP:

$1,486,400

Total:

$2,865,400

Program Description:

This appropriation funds the Mackinac Island State Park Commission. The commission was created under Act 451 of 1994 for the purpose of managing Mackinac Island State Park, Colonial Michilimackinac State Park, and Historic Mill Creek State Park. The commission is composed of seven members, appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the Senate, who serve 6-year terms. The fiscal year 2003 gross appropriation for the Mackinac park system is $2,950,800; $1,037,600 of this amount comes from the Mackinac Island state park fund, while $76,400 is generated from user fees. [16] The remaining $1,836,800 is made up from the state general fund. [17]

Recommended Action:

The Legislature could take advantage of outsourcing for the Mackinac State Historic Parks. The parks need not be managed by the state — in fact, they might be improved and made more self-sufficient if management responsibility were transferred to a private, nonprofit organization. This is what New York City did with its crown jewel, Central Park, contracting with the private, not-for-profit Central Park Conservancy. The conservancy has restored the park from its dilapidated state in the 1970s to its present beautiful condition, using almost $250 million worth of private investment. The conservancy also privately raises $17 million of Central Park’s annual $20 million operating expenses. [18] There is no reason a similar arrangement could not work with Mackinac Island and other state parks. Oversight of such a contract could be provided by a current state employee acting in the capacity of contract manager. Savings: $1,288,300. Governor Granholm’s 2005 proposal increases the gross appropriation to $3,000,000.