GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Opinion

July 26, 2013

Letter: Cyclocross a world-class winner for Gloucester

To the editor:

I am writing this as an open letter to the members of our Gloucester City Council.

Dear councilors:

After careful and thoughtful consideration, the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce wishes to express its strong support for the continued running of the Gran Prix of Gloucester cyclocross competition at Stage Fort Park in Gloucester.

As part of this process, the Chamber gathered feedback from its Government Affairs Council. We ask the City Council to consider the following key points in your deliberations:

The Gran Prix of Gloucester, during its 14 years of operation, has grown to a world class two-day event, drawing nearly 1,000 cyclists to Gloucester from across the United States, including elite national and international racers.

In addition to the race competitors and their families and support crews, GP Gloucester draws hundreds of spectators from Cape Ann and the entire North Shore region.

Competitors, their families, supporters and spectators alike patronize local hotels and restaurants, as well as the on-site concessionaires, nearly all of whom are Gloucester-based. This provides a substantial and direct economic benefit to Gloucester, especially welcome in late September as our region’s peak summer tourism season is winding down.

The organizers of GP Gloucester, Essex County Velo, have an excellent record of responsibly, respectfully, and effectively mitigating and remediating the impacts to Stage Fort Park of the cyclo-cross competitions held there annually in late September or early October since 1999.

In close consultation with the city’s parks professionals at the Department of Public Works and working with professional landscape contractors, Essex County Velo undertakes the park restoration program in a timely manner following the race, spreading loam, re-grading, re-seeding, and placing protective hay bales and fencing as needed.

The Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce, in seeking approvals for Chamber-sponsored events such as the Gloucester Blues Festival and the Gloucester Waterfront Festival, has found the city’s special event permitting process at times to be unclear and extraordinarily multi-layered and complex, particularly when compared with neighboring Cape Ann communities.

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