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January 8, 2013

City awaits Stage Fort race repair plans

GLOUCESTER — Three months after the Gran Prix of Gloucester cyclocross competition last fall, city officials are grappling with how the system for repairing historic Stage Fort Park after the event can be improved.

The cyclocross consists of two days of eight hour competitions over a course stretching nearly two miles throughout the park. Nearly 1,000 cyclists competed in last year’s event. And Paul Boudreau, president of Essex County Velo, which organizes the annual races, agreed there is still much work to be done in the park and the weather is not working in his favor.

”We had two days of torrential rain in 2012, we haven’t really had that before,” he said.

This past fall’s races touched off a storm of controversy over damage done to the park.

Boudreau acknowledged the aftermath of this past year’s competition, including thick mud tracks throughout the park, was significantly worse than in the past. He also attributed part of the problem as a communication issue, saying he was not made aware of the damage that was done to the park.

“I’m sensitive to what the residents of Gloucester think, it is a major concern,” he said.

To that end, Boudreau will be presenting a 14-point plan to the City Council’s Planning and Development Committee to address the park’s problems.

The meeting is slated for Jan. 16 at 7 p.m. at the Lyceum & Sawyer Free Library.

Boudreau said he regularly hires Wolf Hill Home and Garden of Gloucester to reseed and repair the park. So far, the company has done some reseeding since the race in October, but more leveling and reseeding needs to be done come springtime, Boudreau said.

Mark Cole, the assistant director of public works said the area had to dry out for a few days before any work could be done.

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