- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 29, 2013

While the city of Detroit is on the brink of bankruptcy, one developer sees an opportunity that can bring the city, and free-market ideals, back to prosperity.

Developer Rodney Lockwood wants Detroit to sell the city’s Belle Isle Park for $1 billion to private investors who will then transform it into a utopia free of big government, The Blaze reports.

The 982-acre island would be developed into a U.S. commonwealth or city-state of 35,000 people with its own laws, customs and currency. Citizenship for the “remarkable new nation” would cost $300,000 in most cases, CommonWealthofBelleIsle.com reports.

“We are among the people looking for answers to the city’s problem,” Mr. Lockwood told Detroit News.

George Jackson, president and CEO of the Detroit Economic Growth Corp.,told The Blaze the developer’s plan won’t go anywhere. He said the island will likely be turned into a state-run park.

The Detroit City Council was expected to vote on a proposal to lease Belle Isle to the state of Michigan Tuesday, but council members are delaying the vote while city officials seek more answers to pressing questions. The 2-1 vote will keep the proposal in committee and will require two votes to pass during the next hearing.

The uncertainty came after a public hearing Tuesday afternoon erupted as Detroit residents spoke against and in favor of a plan to lease the city’s signature park to the state in a long-term deal, the Detroit Free Press reports.

Mr. Lockwood told TheBlaze he doesn’t plan to make any formal offer to the city until the idea is thoroughly considered.

• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at jchasmar@washingtontimes.com.

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