Grand Prix to make pitch to stay on Belle Isle in bid for new contract

Organizers fight to keep race on Belle Isle

BELLE ISLE, Mich. - Will Detroit be a destination for Indy car racing next year? The contract for the Grand Prix is up, but the pitch for a new deal will go in front of the Belle Isle Advisory Council in the morning.

Race organizers said the island is really the only venue that makes sense, according to race Chairman Bud Denker.

Organizers are looking for a multi-year deal and will be upping the fee they pay in their pitch.

Racing in Detroit was a thing of the past until Roger Penske brought the thrill of Indy cars to Belle Isle, and that was well before the makeover began. The Grand Prix's sponsors have pumped more than $13 million into improvements to the park, including turning the water on again in the James Scott Memorial Fountain.

"You're going to see us propose a fee increase to the state to use the Belle Isle Park," Denker said. "You're also going to see a condensed number provided tomorrow."

The race brings an estimated $50 million for the Metro Detroit region when the drivers and their fans roll into town. While nobody is complaining about the money generated by the race, there have been complaints about the setup time and limited access to the park in the spring.

Organizers said they take the criticism seriously.

You can watch Mara MacDonald's full story in the video posted above.

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