Belle Isle | Dobel Street | Metro Detroit

An open invitation

I received a mild scolding on Sunday, and rightfully so.

A dear friend called to remind me that we get things done through having patience with people and holding civil conversations — not with an angry diatribe.

I’ve been working on my temper for years, but continue to have a tendency to “call bullshit” sometimes. And the politics being played out on the Belle Isle deal and now 50 other City of Detroit parks made me do just that.

Still, my friend is right. Temper tantrums are for children, not adults, and our children are counting on us to do the right thing.

So now I’m offering all the parties who created, then killed the Belle Isle deal to come together on neutral territory — hallowed ground for those of us who gathered in a similar manner in the summer of 2007 to save another city park, Fletcher Field.

Mayor Bing, Gov. Snyder, Detroit City Council and all other stakeholders in Belle Isle and parks throughout the city, I implore you — for the sake of the children of Detroit — to come to Fletcher Field with open minds and hearts on Valentine’s Day at noon. Come see what cooperation and consideration can accomplish.

If you accept this invitation, there’s a good chance we can get you out of the cold for a sit-down discussion nearby — perhaps in the same boardroom where we plotted the rebirth of Fletcher Field — after our park visit. So bring your thorough, transparent plans with you.

I feel very strongly that we’re at a crossroad here, that rebuilding Belle Isle and other parks throughout the city can lead to great things. Whether you live in the city today or grew up there and later moved away, the parks connect us all. They’re wondrous places where we feel safe, innocent, let down our guard and dream about the future. That’s why they conjure up so much energy and excitement — both positive and negative.

Let’s turn the negative to positive, use all that energy to move forward instead of back.

Like it or not, we’re all in this together, and settling for politics as the usual here is unacceptable.

Let’s be exceptional in this instance. Our kids — our future — are counting on it.