Mackinac Center board member Rodney Lockwood and Senior Economist David Littmann are part of a group that will present a plan for private investors to purchase Belle Isle from the city of Detroit for $1 billion and create a "free-market utopia" there, according to The Detroit News and Crain's Detroit Business.
The idea, to be presented Jan. 21 at the Detroit Athletic Club, calls for turning the 982-acre island into the "commonwealth of Belle Isle," a city-state of 35,000 residents.
"We are among the people looking for answers to the city's problem," Lockwood told The News, although he admitted the idea has little political support. "You have to put ideas out there — especially now when there is so much up for debate."
Mackinac Center analysts have long called for the city of Detroit to sell Belle Isle as a way to start to solve its fiscal woes, including this Michigan Privatization Report commentary from December 2000.