The organizers of the annual Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix have struck a deal with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to keep hosting the annual racing event at Belle Isle Park, despite some opposition from local residents and other concerned citizens. The organizers have had to agree to several concessions in order to ensure the event can continue to be held on the island, including a shorter setup/tear-down time, and more revenue paid for a permit and other fees.
The deal is good for the next three years, with the option of extending it by another two.
Starting in 2019, Roger Penske and his associated companies, which put on the annual Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix on Belle Isle, will have to pay $325k for a permit to host the event, up from $200k in 2018. On top of that, they’ll pay $125k in activities fees; organizers originally had proposed just $85k, but the state requested another $40k additional. That money will be used at the Michigan DNR’s own discretion.
In an effort to minimize the racing event’s disruption to normal park activities, the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix’s organizers will have just 60 days to set up and tear down the track and associated structures in 2019, and 59 days after that. The previous contract provided for up to 84 days for setup/tear-down, although organizers say that this year, the track was up for only 62 days.
“The Grand Prix and Belle Isle Park are important parts of Detroit’s history,” says DNR Parks and Recreation Division Chief Ron Olson. “We believe that we have arrived at a plan that honors them bot, while enhancing the long-term support critical to managing this unique state park.”
Olson says that the DNR gave strong consideration to public feedback, including viewpoints expressed during three separate hearings since September, 2017 and other comments submitted to the agency. He says that comments skewed heavily toward supporting the annual racing event on Detroit’s Belle Isle. Additionally, he says, the money collected from the event helps to finance park improvements that haven’t otherwise been budgeted for.
(Source: The Detroit News)