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Jersey City Mayor Shoots Down U.S. Grand Prix Proposal

Posted in FIA, Formula 1, General, Newsworthy, Politics, Racing by Kurt Ernst | May 6th, 2010 | 5 Responses |

Swayed more by ecologists and preservationists than by the huge potential for tourist revenue, Jersey City mayor Jerramiah Healy refused to support a proposed plan that would bring the Formula 1 U.S. Grand Prix to Liberty State Park.

In a statement advising Jersey City’s Tourist Office to abandon plans for the F1 venue, Healy decleared:

“After a review of the draft proposal prepared by the City’s Tourism Office, I have come to the same conclusion…that this type of event is not suited for Liberty State Park. While we work to attract national and international events to our city, we must ensure that they are appropriate and will have the least impact upon the quality of life of our residents and our community.”

Maybe Liberty State Park wasn’t the best option, but you’d think that the mayor would at least call for a counter proposal. There aren’t many events that can attract the kind of tourist dollars an F1 race would bring to town, and mayors generally aren’t re-elected for keeping the local economy flat.

Hey Bernie Ecclestone: send me a PM if you want to bring the U.S. Grand Prix to Jacksonville, Florida. I’d be willing to bet our Tourism Office would be a bit more… accommodating.

Source: Jersey City Will Not Welcome F1 Race

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5 Responses

  1. Kate says:

    Jacksonville tourist board might be more accomodating, but unless the one of the religious groups backs the idea….it won’t get off the ground.

  2. This kind of event should take place in a downtown city environment, but that won’t probably won’t get off the ground in the US, either. Champ Car tried it a few years back and NASCAR had a fit, successfully undermining the proposal. Sad – that class of racing is so much more exciting and lucrative for municipalities than NASCAR.

  3. Kurt says:

    DYCWTC, the trick is finding a municipality that would draw the F1 crowd and be willing to work with both the planners and residents. When Denver had a Champ Car event back in the early ’90s, the populace hated it. Additional revenue aside, the residents didn’t like the inconvenience of closed streets, traffic, impossible commutes, etc. That’s ultimately why Phoenix lost the F1 U.S. Gran Prix as well.

    I’m sure Fargo, North Dakota would jump at the chance to host an F1 event, but who’d actually attend (aside from beer-fueled German F1 fans, of course)?

    Maybe the best option is to move it back to Watkins Glen, NY. Tourists can fly into NYC, spend the weekend before the race partying and shopping, then book tour busses or rent cars to drive to the Finger Lakes. It would sure go a long way towards improving that areas dying economy.

  4. inthebuff says:

    When did Jersey City elect Les Nessman as mayor?

  5. Sam Pesin says:

    As president of The Friends of Liberty State Park and the son of the park’s “father”, I’m respectfully writing people to explain why our 22 year old, 900 member volunteer park advocacy group strongly opposes a permanent race track built in this urban open space park behind Lady Liberty and Ellis Island. We are not “ecologists and preservationists” for the most part. We are people of all ages who love a free and green open space park behind Lady Liberty.

    Liberty State Park is completely planned out after decades of public hearings and battles against inappropriate plans.

    Please check our letter to the Jersey City Mayor at http://www.folsp.org/preservation/grand_prix.htm

    The Friends love LSP like New Yorkers love Central park. We urged the Mayor to end JC’s support of this proposal which is contrary to LSP’s true purposes of enjoyment of unstructured recreation and nature, which the vast majority supported since before the park opened in 1976.

    Once a race track is built, there will be pressure to have many car races there, closing off this urban park to families on several weekends between April and Oct. and that would be shameful and unjust, to confiscate an urban park from families who need and deserve LSP like New Yorkers need Central Park, for non-commercial unstructured activities.

    The overwhelming majority of park users from this concrete, crowded county need and deserve this waterfront open space park for unstructured recreation. LSP is a park and not a commercial venue for events that must build permanent structures. LSP is all planned out after decades of public hearings.

    The park is a beloved free and green public space and it would be a negative, waste of time for a major statewide grassroots battle to be caused by the F1 company trying to use it’s power and influence to push it through.

    Ultimately, public hearings would be necessary for any major plan for this public park behind Lady Liberty and the permanent race track will be opposed by the vast majority. F 1 owners should look elsewhere and let the people enjoy LSP, one of the most meaningful, beautiful and inspiring public spaces in America.
    Sam Pesin
    president of The Friends of LSP