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DNR moves forward with plan to keep Detroit Grand Prix on Belle Isle with some changes

Posted: 12:08 PM, Jul 27, 2018
Updated: 2018-07-27 17:28:14Z
DNR moves forward with plan to keep Detroit Grand Prix on Belle Isle with some changes

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is moving forward with a plan that would keep the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix on Belle Isle for the next few years with some changes to the original proposal.

According to the DNR, it finished the initial evaluation of a proposal that would keep the race weekend on Belle Isle, and said it "is interested in moving forward on a plan to keep the Detroit Grand Prix at the island park, provided key agreement areas are resolved to the department's satisfaction."

Earlier this month, grand prix officials presented the proposal to the DNR after the contract for the race expired this year.

The original proposal included a three-year term to run with an option for a two-year extension, the grand prix increasing its fee it pays the DNR to run the race from $200,000 a year to $300,000 a year. It also included a 39-day build time and 20-day takedown time, and an annual contribution of $50,000 that the DNR determines.

While it is not yet a done deal, Olson said the next step is the department presenting changes to the grand prix's proposal, which include changing the amount of compensation, the number of days from setup to breakdown and other details.

“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,” DNR Parks and Recreation Division Chief Ron Olson said. “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.”

Now, Detroit Grand Prix officials will look at the proposed changes ahead of a meeting on Thursday, Aug. 2 at 6 p.m. where the revised proposal. The public is encouraged to respond to the review of the changes and can email their thoughts to DNR-GrandPrix-Proposal@michigan.gov.

The DNR has hosted listening sessions going back to September 2017 about the future of the grand prix. Hundreds of people showed up to the meeting in July both for and against the grand prix continuing on Belle Isle.

Many residents are angry that the race closes portions of the island during peak times in May and early June, as well as noise complaints and the environmental impact.

Other areas Olson said the DNR plans to move forward including the benefits to the park, which include $13.5 million in enhancements since 2007, limited impact to natural resources and the historical significance.

After the Aug. 2 meeting, the DNR plans to make its final decision, which will then be shared with the Belle Isle Park Advisory Committee and the public.