Detroit Grand Prix team makes pitch to keep race on Belle Isle

Issue sparks heated debate in front of Belle Isle Park Advisory Committee

BELLE ISLE, Mich. - Where will the next Grand Prix race take place? That's a question stirring a heated debate between those who believe it should stay on Belle Isle and others who think it should move.

A proposal for the race was brought in front of the Belle Isle Park Advisory Committee on Friday. About 150 people showed up, and people on both sides of the issue were vocal.

The Detroit Grand Prix team wants to keep the race on Belle Isle, and they proposed a new three-year contract with a two-year extension option. They also want to increase their payment to Belle Isle by 50 percent, paying $300,000 annually.

There's also a plan to give $50,000 to the Michigan DNR annually for projects.

Officials cited the economic benefits of the race and the spotlight it shines on Detroit.

"Look, we know that some of the inherent elements of our event are not going to be supported," said Michael Montri, of Detroit Grand Prix.

Those against the race, which included about half the room, have two main arguments: the environmental impacts of the race and the access to the island during it, including setup and teardown times.

You can watch Nick Monacelli's full story in the video posted above.

A decision on the proposal isn't expected until August. Another public meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Aug. 2.

Here is a statement from Detroit Grand Prix on the proposal:

"This morning, the Detroit Grand Prix submitted a formal proposal to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to continue hosting the annual motorsports event at Belle Isle Park. The proposal includes a three-year agreement to continue the Grand Prix on Belle Isle, beginning in 2019, with an additional two-year extension option. Additional key elements of the proposal include a 50% increase in the annual fee to host the race on the island to $300,000, along with yearly contributions of $50,000 to the Michigan DNR for targeted island improvement initiatives and $35,000 for projects and programming in the paddock area on Belle Isle. The Grand Prix will also continue to minimize its overall time spent on Belle Isle, reducing its total time on the island from 65 days in 2018 to 62 days starting next year. This timeline will be 12 days faster than the event’s total time on the island in 2017. The Grand Prix looks forward to working with the public, its stakeholders and the Michigan DNR over the course of the proposal process."

You can view the proposal below:

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