Grand Prix Organizers Offer More Money, One Week Less of Belle Isle Intrusion –  Deadline Detroit

Organizers of the Detroit Grand Prix make a contract renegotiation offer to the Belle Isle Advisory Committee: More money and a somewhat shortened setup time on the state park island.

They also want a three-year contract with an option to renew for two more, The Detroit News reports. 

They’d pay $300,000 to use the city-owned island, a 50-percent increase, and pare setup from 69 days to 62. 

Scott Dixon wins the Detroit Grand Prix at Belle Isle in June. (Deposit Photos)

Predictably, this doesn’t sway a group that would like to see the race find another place to disrupt:

Members of the public criticized using the natural resource of the largest city-owned island park in the nation for auto racing, for more than two months.

“You are violating the public trust,” Michael Betzold of Detroit said.

“For what? A medium-sized sporting event.

“It is incredible arrogance to call Roger Penske a steward of this island.”

No word on when the committee might make its recommendation to the state Department of Natural Resources, which will decide whether to allow another few years of racing on the island. The public can comment until Aug. 2.

Race chairman Bud Denker want a decision by mid-August, he tells Jamie L. LaReau of the Detroit Free Press before the meeting.

If the Detroit Grand Prix and state Department of Natural Resources, which manages the island, don’t agree on a new deal, the race is likely to leave Michigan, Denker says in the Freep interview:

“We have no plan B for this. We’ve looked at the fairgrounds, which aren’t large enough and would need to be redeveloped. We’ve looked at City Airport . . . there are similar problems.

“If it doesn’t occur on Belle Isle, it won’t happen in our area.”

That prompts this reaction from a communicator who was Crain’s Detroit Business editor and publisher until April:

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