The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has said that it will continue to allow for the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix to take place at Belle Isle Park, provided that certain key conditions are met moving forward. The agency says that organizers must provide “full public access on the roadways and to features of the park” for 41 days of its maximum 62-day staging period, and it will seek a higher event permit fee, as well as a restriction on helicopter traffic for television coverage.
Event organizers this year paid $150k for the permit required to host the event at Detroit’s historic Belle Isle park, and have proposed raising that amount to $300k in an attempt to get the DNR to allow the event past 2018, but the agency is seeking $310k.
“We believe there are many far-reaching benefits in working toward a plan where Belle Isle Park continues as the site of the Detroit Grand Prix,” says DNR Parks and Recreation Division chief Ron Olson. “We feel confident that we can arrive at a plan that honors the history, excitement and impact of this iconic race, while also safeguarding and enhancing the green spaces and experiences that people have come to expect from a day at Belle Isle.”
Many of those who oppose allowing the Detroit Grand Prix to continue at Belle Isle blast its environmental impact, but in a statement released Friday, the Michigan DNR said that its own environmental assessments revealed “little to no long-term impact on area wildlife and natural areas.”
“Event setup starts after bird and waterfowl migration occurs, and most animals and birds were found to be living in the flatwoods area on the park’s east end, opposite of the race location,” read a part of the statement.
Negotiations to bring the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix back to Belle Isle are still ongoing, as event organizers continue to pore over public comments and suggestions, taking those into account as they attempt to strike a new deal with the DNR. Organizers say they’ve received strong, passionate responses from members of the public on both sides: those who oppose the weekend racing event, and those who don’t want to see it taken away.
(Source: The Detroit News)