Detroit Grand Prix seeks move from Belle Isle back to downtown

Years of objection from environmentalists and activists to the race’s disruption of a public park also played a role in the organizers who wanted to leave the island.

“Of course there are some of that, and we fully understand that,” said Denker. “When on Belle Isle there are physical barriers to getting on and off the island. They don’t allow much public access …

Organizers have long argued that the race is more of a blessing than an obstacle to Belle Isle, citing the $ 13.5 million organizers have invested there since 2007 and the $ 5 million that have collected them for charity.

Michelle Hodges, President and CEO of the Belle Isle Conservancy, said the Grand Prix officials have “been great administrators of Belle Isle and I don’t expect this to end.”

In the years that it has been held on Belle Isle, the Grand Prix has presented the island to the world in a beautiful light, Hodges told Crain on Wednesday morning.

The race’s non-profit organizer “is a prime example of what public-private partnerships can bring to the community when well managed,” said Hodges, who was briefed in advance of plans to get the race back on the road Detroit and in attendance at a meeting held by the Grand Prix Tuesday night at the Whiskey Factory in Detroit to thank sponsors and supporters.

The Grand Prix has been a major funder of the Belle Isle Conservancy’s work in recent years, bringing in $ 400,000 to $ 1.1 million a year into the conservancy over and above the fees paid to the DNR, she said.

Still, the reserve, which runs on a $ 2 million budget this year, expected the Grand Prix not to stay on the island forever, “and so we committed to a development plan that would make it possible to wean ourselves off this funding. “Said Hodges.

“Change is always an opportunity, and we look forward to it,” she said, noting that future opportunities are likely to come in the form of new programs, engagement, and fundraising.

“We believe the Grand Prix will do great on the downtown streets. The organizers will always be a friend of BIC.”

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