GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Opinion

July 23, 2013

Letter: Keep world-class sporting event here

To the editor:

Gloucester is in danger of losing one of our premiere sporting events, and I hope we, as residents, can prevent this from happening.

Since 1999, Stage Fort Park has been the site of a world class cyclocross race, and now race organizers, under pressure from a vocal minority, are considering other North Shore venues.

Please speak up and support this race staying here in Gloucester! Essex County Velo and Paul Boudreau have shown they are willing to work with the city to improve the state of the park after the race. However, there are those who seem determined to make it impossible to move forward and continue that partnership.

This past weekend was the Blackburn Challenge, a similar event that draws international, elite level racers, to row around Cape Ann, but to start and finish in our fair city. I spoke with athletes from Boston and the South Shore who are worried about future issues with their race from our local government and Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce.

Again, these races are natural opportunities for increased revenue and good will. Athletic events based on our city’s natural features are an ideal manner to draw another type of tourist: those who wish to compete, then eat/drink/stay in Gloucester.

My hope is that race organizers can find common ground with city officials to support the Gran Prix of Gloucester. While many other athletic races have come and gone, the cross race (and the Blackburn Challenge!) have persisted.

Let’s not lose either of these unique Gloucester events. Call or email your city councilors and mayor today!

HEIDI WAKEMAN

Gloucester

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