, Gloucester, MA

August 21, 2013

Editorial: Council committee's cyclocross stand a winning choice

Gloucester Daily Times

---- — Neither side may have gotten everything they were seeking.

Yet that’s the very definition of an effective compromise. And that indeed is perhaps the trademark of a key recommendation by the City Council’s Planning and Development subcommittee that everyone hopes will keep the Gran Prix of Gloucester off-road bicycle “cyclocross” races at Stage Fort Park for a 15th year at the end of September.

The three-member council panel — comprised of Greg Verga, who chairs the committee, Jackie Hardy, the City Council president, and Councilor-at-large Bruce Tobey, a former council president and former four-term mayor — has voted unanimously and rightfully to allow Paul Boudreau and his Essex County Velo group that organizes and promotes the popular annual event to use Stage Fort for this year’s Prix, planned for Sept. 28-29.

And while that recommendation may irritate some residents who’ve expressed concern about damage to the park, they and other councilors who have raised similar questions — namely Joe Ciolino and Bob Whynott — the fact is, the subcommittee has attached a key condition.

That’s a bond — expected to be firmed up at $10,000 — to cover the timely post-race repairs and cleanup. And that may pose some issues for Boudreau.

The bottom line, however, seems to be a recommendation that is fair for all, and one that should set the tone for Gloucester’s hosting of this important destination event for years to come.

Let’s hope the full council approves its committee’s decision, that Essex County Velo meets the bond requirements — and that this “Gran Prix” keeps Gloucester in its name for years to come.