GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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August 14, 2013

Council panel eyes cyclocross decision

Organizers of the Gloucester Gran Prix cyclocross racees are set to come before the City Council’s subcommittee on Planning and Development in a special session Thursday at 6 p.m. in City Hall.

The meeting will serve two purposes, officials say: It’s a follow-up to the site visit that drew race organizers, city officials and dozens of race supporters weeks ago, and it will let city officials take a look at the current application for the 2013 event, planned for Sept. 28-29. The meeting will be in City Hall’s first-floor conference room; due to an editing error, an initial story on the meeting indicated it would be in Kyrouz Auiditorium, but thta was incorrect.

City Councilor Greg Verga, who chairs the subcommittee, said Tuesday he hoped to hear from youth baseball representatives who use the Salvatore Parisi baseball diamond at Stage Fort. But the session will not be a public hearing type of meeting where anyone can voice their opinion to city officials.

Verga said the Planning and Development Committee will likely make a recommendation about this year’s event during tomorrow’s meeting.

“As long as we reach an agreement on what the expectations are, and (race organizers) do what they say they are going to do, we should be in good shape,” he said.

Even if the three-person subcommittee recommends rejecting the Gran Prix, it will still go before the entire City Council.

Meanwhile, Paul Boudreau, president of Essex County Velo which organizes the race, has also been in talks with officials from Salem about holding the race there, in addition to another community in Essex County, should the permits get denied in Gloucester.

But he reiterated Tuesday that his group has been working with the Department of Public Works to restore the park to city standards, and added that the DPW found the park was effectively restored earlier in the year.

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