Grand Prix Critics Link Belle Isle Shutdown to Off-Limits Race Areas –  Deadline Detroit

The timing of Monday’s “too full” status at Belle Isle, four days before the Detroit Grand Prix starts, gives opponents of the race location a natural target for new shots.

Traffic snarls and lack of parking for more vehciles led state troopers to block the MacArthur Bridge on the sultry hoiliday afternoon, exceot for cyclists and pedestrians. More than 2,000 people reportedly were on the city-owned island at the time.

Belle Isle Concern group members protest Saturday. (Facebook photo)


At Detour newsletter on Tuesday, founder Ashley Catherine Woods flags “what the cops didn’t mention:”

There might be room for everybody if half the park weren’t shut down in preparation for a car race.

Earth to Keith Crain: Outside the country club, way more than a “handful of dissidents” think it may be wise to minimize Grand Prix’s presence on Belle Isle or move the race completely.

Her reference is to a Detroit Crain’s Business column this week by the company chairman, who also belittles critics of the race site as “a few protesters.”

Reactions to Monday’s closure also come from Deadline readers responding to this original post:

  • Maybe if the stupid race track wasn’t taking up half the island. — Alice Bagley, Detroit

  • If all those racing stands and barricades weren’t up it would be enough. Move! — Dennis Hampton

These are among new comments at the Facebook page of Belle Isle Concern, a group of activists. 

  • The issue is that a too large percentage of the island is closed off and restricted, as well as traffic flow changed, because of the set up for the grand prix. A grand prix – at a state park. Can anyone tell me of any other state park has an event like this?? That’s the issue. — Ellie Baterian

  • I pay $11 for a state park pass. The only state park I use is Belle Isle. We have six “pleasant” months in Michigan. For three of those months, the park is a race disgrace, and unusable for the public and me. Move the Grand Prix! — Skip Davis

  • People being turned away when over 20% of Belle Isle is closed is wrong. This is the State of Michigan people’s park, not the Grand Prix’s park. — Regina Kuper

  • The entire area within the confines of the racetrack has been off limits to the public since sometime last week. With the exception of shelter #5 and a few spots on the north side anyone, wanting to have a picnic were forced to the areas east of Inselruhe. Unfortunately much of that area has standing water and the grass has not been cut — less than ideal conditions. — Carolyn White

Original article, Monday afternoon:

Belle Isle Park, one of Detroit’s true gems, became too popular on a steamy Memorial Day.

Around 4:15 p.m., the Michigan State Police blocked the Jefferson Avenue bridge to vehicles, but not pedestrians and cyclists.

Related coverage:

Keith Crain on Belle Isle Race: ‘Let’s Not Ruin it for the Sake of a Few Protesters’, May 28

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