The DNR has spent the winter working on some of the more urgent/embarrassing issues on Belle Isle. Dead or diseased trees have been removed, bathrooms are being repaired, and security has been increased—presumably to ward off whatever odd criminals might re-vandalize park bathrooms.
But the DNR will soon go beyond the basic projects to begin implementing their overall vision for the park. According to Local 4, historic renovations are headed for two of the island's oldest buildings.
The White House [Photo by Chris and Michelle Gerard]
Built in 1863 (or possibly ten years later, depending on who you ask), the White House is technically Belle Isle's oldest remaining structure. According to the exterior plaque, the house was originally built as a private residence called "Insulruhe," meaning "island serenity." Having spent most of its life as some sort of administrative building, the White House appears to be in decent shape. According to the Detroit Recreation Department, a large-scale restoration took place in 1983. The DNR plans a "functional renovation" before setting up offices there, but it's not exactly clear how invasive the work will be.
Correction (1:01PM): Initially, this article described the police station's future role as that of a "gift shop." There is currently no indication that any merchandise will be sold at the building, so we're sticking with "welcome center." Sorry for any confusion.
· Belle Isle Officially Becomes Michigan's Dumpiest State Park [Curbed]
· Lots of work to do on Belle Isle [Local 4]