GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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July 30, 2013

Stage Fort talks spur racing changes

While there remain questions as to where Gloucester’s cyclocross will be held, officials from the sponsoring Essex County Velo and city officials can agree that the cyclocross course will be changing.

A Saturday site visit between the Planning and Development Subcommittee of Gloucester’s City Council and members of Essex County Velo, which helps organize the Gran Prix of Gloucester, also prompted about 75 riders and others who back the race to show their support, according to Paul Boudreau, president of Essex County Velo and the primary race organizer.

And some areas — including Half Moon Beach and Betty Smith Garden on Stacey Boulevard — were agreed to be stricken from the race course, city officials said. Coluncilor Bob Whynott also expressed specila concern abot the use of the Lucy B. Davis Patrhway, but race organizers did not agree to any changes in that regard.

Boudreau did not say how losing a specific area of the course, such as Half Moon Beach, will affect the race, or if he approached the Conservation Commission about using the beach this year.

”As with any area in the park, we’ll need to assess how the non-availability of a course feature affects our ability to produce a world class race course,” he wrote in an email to the Times.

The race course, however, cannot be outlined until a venue is decided upon, he added. With questions surrounding the use of Stage Fort, and with city approvals still pending, Boudreau has also approached the city of Salem about perhaps bolding the race at Salem Willlows Park. Boudreau said Monday he is also considering a third site, which he did not identify, also in Essex County.

The race must be OK’d by City Council regardless of the Planning and Development subcommittee, which is expected to make its recommendation next week.

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