GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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October 1, 2013

Cleaning up Stage Fort

Crews waste no time on cyclocross repairs

For two days, Stage Fort Park was the bustling center of a global cycling event, with more than 1,000 riders and hundreds of spectators covering much of the park’s grounds, for the 15th annual Gran Prix of Gloucester.

Monday, however, the park was bustling again, with crews moving rocks and carrying out other efforts to get the park back into its usual order.

The park’s condition following the race had been in the spotlight this summer, as some residents raised concerns about holding the Gran Prix in the park after a messy 2012 aftermath and with the organizing Essex Velo group exploring an alternate site at Salem Willows if city officials declined to issue the needed permits.

But an approving City Council vote in late August cleared the way for the popular cyclocross event to go forward, and riders and spectators alike enjoyed the action under generally clear skies.

That, alone, provided a marked difference from a year ago, when rain during and soon after the cyclocross races made any torn-up conditions much worse, and residents and city officials questioned the delays in a post-race cleanup.

“It’s a lot better than last year,” race director Paul Boudreau said Monday.

Boudreau spent Monday coordinating with members of the Department of Public Works and the landscaping company handling the repairs, Tyler Munroe Landscaping of North Andover.

Boudreau, city councilor Joe Ciolino and Mark Cole, operations manager of public services for Gloucester’s Department of Public Works, joined others in taking a walk through the park to assess any damage and come up with an post-race action plan. That’s one of the 18 stipulations city councilors and race organizers agreed upon in the deal that let the races go forward.

“We went through a pretty arduous permitting process with the City Council,” Boudreau said. “Both parties understand what’s to be expected of each other.”

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