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Detroit Grand Prix, DNR Reach Agreement To Keep Race On Belle Isle

August 10, 2018 - 9:44 am

BELLE ISLE (WWJ)  - The Detroit Grand Prix is staying on Belle Isle. 

The agreement, announced Friday, will keep the event on Belle Isle for three more years beginning in 2019, with an option for extending the agreement two additional years through 2023.

The final agreement reduces the Detroit Grand Prix’s total time spent on Belle Isle for set-up, the race weekend and take-down from 84 days in its previous contract with the city to 60 days in 2019 and 59 days beginning in 2020. In addition, the new agreement will increase the annual fee paid by the Grand Prix from $200,000 in the Detroit contract to $325,000. 

Other key provisions in the new agreement: 

  • An annual Detroit Grand Prix investment in the park of $125,000 – in addition to the annual fee – to be used at the Michigan Department of Natural Resources' discretion for park-improvement projects.
  • Requirement that the Grand Prix continue to remove barriers and other equipment from the island after completion of the event, as it did in 2018. 
  • The Detroit Grand Prix’s commitment to host the annual Grand Prixmiere fund-raising event, which has raised an average of $800,000 annually for Belle Isle over the last several years. Grand Prixmiere funds will be used to keep the Belle Isle Aquarium operating free to the public, complete a priority infrastructure project yet to be announced and benefit the Belle Isle Conservancy.

Based on the historical average of the Grand Prixmiere contribution, which depends on private donations, the agreement represents a total estimated compensation package of $1.25 million a year, which is more than a third of Belle Isle Park’s annual operating budget. 

Ron Olson, chief of the DNR Parks and Recreation Division, said the department reached a final decision after considering the scope of public feedback and thoroughly evaluating the cost-versus-benefit impact of hosting the Detroit Grand Prix at Belle Isle Park. 

The Detroit Grand Prix first was held on Belle Isle in 1992 to 2001 and again in 2007-2008. It has been run on Belle Isle every year since 2012. The Detroit Grand Prix has invested more than $13.5 million in enhancements to Belle Isle Park’s natural and cultural resources since its return in 2007.