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eyestosee

West Michigan Sports Commission

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I was one of the attendees at the Peter Secchia called meeting today. A wonderful report was submitted by the GR/Kent County CVB. The handout was nice, the food was nice, but is the commission needed? Could we really persuade the NCAA and other amateur organization, to choose us? I hope so...but... Does anyone have thoughts? I would love to sow time and dollars into it. Is the ground ready for sowing? Is the City a thorn waiting to hinder growth?

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I was one of the attendees at the Peter Secchia called meeting today. A wonderful report was submitted by the GR/Kent County CVB. The handout was nice, the food was nice, but is the commission needed? Could we really persuade the NCAA and other amateur organization, to choose us? I hope so...but... Does anyone have thoughts? I would love to sow time and dollars into it. Is the ground ready for sowing? Is the City a thorn waiting to hinder growth?

See this already started thread:

http://www.urbanplanet.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=27285

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I believe GR could attract venues ( well some) as a matter of fact they already do.... many times has the The Meadows golf course been the championship course for D2 golf.... GVSU has hosted many such events.

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Playoffs usually have empty seats... In the playoffs you just don't know in advance if your team is going to be playing or not. The market is here, just no one will dip their toe in or just jump.

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That isn't what the Sports Commission would be for. The point would be to make bids for the various sports events that jump around. Things like NCAA, high school, AAU and travel hockey tournaments and other once a year sporting events. Also they would develop the venues needed.

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Could they find sponsors for another Grand Prix through downtown? :thumbsup:

Now those were a couple of fun urban weekends.

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Are the both of us the only ones that thought that was cool? I didn't know anyone at that time that even liked the Prix.

Wasn't this meeting for the idea of a sports commision invite only?

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When was there a road race in the city? I'd absolutely love that. It was a sad day when they cancelled the race on Belle Isle, one in GR would be great.

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I wanted to see it but never did. Although I found one interesting thing last week.. it seems somebody was fond enough of it to keep some memoribilia:

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A lot of the barricades and fences for the West Michigan Grand Prix are (or were) still stored over on Seward Ave behind Ferris Coffee. I thought the race was pretty cool, especially the vintage race cars. It was sweet seeing modified old Porsche's and BMW's racing 100mph down Fulton (which was the straightaway from Ionia down to the S-Curve), like the old Herbie movies. Tim Allen would come and race, and Sam Cummings of Second Story would also race in it. You can also see Grand Prix stickers in a few downtown office windows. :whistling:

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A lot of the barricades and fences for the West Michigan Grand Prix are (or were) still stored over on Seward Ave behind Ferris Coffee. I thought the race was pretty cool, especially the vintage race cars. It was sweet seeing modified old Porsche's and BMW's racing 100mph down Fulton (which was the straightaway from Ionia down to the S-Curve), like the old Herbie movies. Tim Allen would come and race, and Sam Cummings of Second Story would also race in it. You can also see Grand Prix stickers in a few downtown office windows. :whistling:

Those barricades continue to be used at construction sites around town.

Every July 24-26 (1998) and August 27-29 (1999) I put on my West Michigan Grand Prix t-shirt and hat, stand on Fulton and, with a tear in my eye, remember the race. :rofl:

Jade Pig's Brian Devries was in the featured Trans-Am race.

This is Sam Cummings in his Alfa flying north on Ottawa in the 1998 vintage race.

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zoooooooomg ok what can we do to bring it back. O_O

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I hate to be such a "car-guy" but I'm in Indianapolis at the United State Grand Prix Formula One race (qualifying today, race tomorrow).

I'm practicing my slow shutter speed pans.

Downtown Indy is a fantastic city and it was hopping tonight with the race fans. Many are European with strange language and dress. The reason I share this, is to note that sporting events of this scale are a major impact on a community.

Ferraris took both pole positions.

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It was really hot.

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Not many people for qualifying, but the stands should be packed tomorrow.

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There was a Porsche race.

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And a Formula BMW race.

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Awesome shot! I've never been to Indy, but those are some killer stands!

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Awesome shot! I've never been to Indy, but those are some killer stands!

I think I heard someone say that they have seating for 400,000 people for the Indy 500. Formula One runs some on the big oval and some on a dedicated road course, so not all of the bleacher seats work for Formula One. There will be a lot of people no matter how many seats that the have. There are also grassy berms in some very nice locations around the track.

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When was there a road race in the city? I'd absolutely love that. It was a sad day when they cancelled the race on Belle Isle, one in GR would be great.

You didn't miss much. Just a bunch of loud noise, pollution, and annoying detours. One person I know had a heck of a time trying to get to work at the Waters Building. She ended up climbing over one of the high fences.

The race was sort of a dangerous and unnecessary event, if you ask me.

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I would've loved to see it. I guess I can understand every year being a bother, but what about once every decade?

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You didn't miss much. Just a bunch of loud noise, pollution, and annoying detours. One person I know had a heck of a time trying to get to work at the Waters Building. She ended up climbing over one of the high fences.

The race was sort of a dangerous and unnecessary event, if you ask me.

A few hundred thousand people disagreed and purchased tickets to watch the West Michigan Grand Prix. They reported having a great time. Nobody got hurt and they added significantly to the GR economy, just like the Formula One fans are doing in Indianapolis. Hotel room rates in Indy are literally twice the normal rate because of the race and the hotels are all full within 30 minutes of Indy. Downtown hotels are over $400 a night with a 2 night minimum stay. I'm paying $150 in a Holiday Inn Express 40 minutes from the track. We stopped at a Hampton Inn farther away and they were full with all rooms at $200. The restaurants downtown all had 30 minute plus waits. Huge money is flowing into the local economy, but I'll bet there are those in the town that hate the traffic, noise, etc. too.

You could say that Festival is "unnecessary" too. It may even be a greater polluter with all those grills going non-stop :D . But it also brings hundreds of thousands together for something they enjoy. There are those who don't like festival, but those who do have fun and spend a great deal of money in the city. Same for Blues on the Mall, etc.

BTW, the Waters Building was not in the downtown race circuit. There were no fences that prevented anyone from reaching that area. The organizers were very careful about maintaining access throughout the city and only "sealed" the circuit during the race weekend. Also, the safety fences that enclosed the track were 10 or 12' tall.

I will agree that the downtown races were an unfortunate disruption for some, but those that enjoyed them would pay to have them return.

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A few hundred thousand people disagreed and purchased tickets to watch the West Michigan Grand Prix. They reported having a great time. Nobody got hurt and they added significantly to the GR economy, just like the Formula One fans are doing in Indianapolis. Hotel room rates in Indy are literally twice the normal rate because of the race and the hotels are all full within 30 minutes of Indy. Downtown hotels are over $400 a night with a 2 night minimum stay. I'm paying $150 in a Holiday Inn Express 40 minutes from the track. We stopped at a Hampton Inn farther away and they were full with all rooms at $200. The restaurants downtown all had 30 minute plus waits. Huge money is flowing into the local economy, but I'll bet there are those in the town that hate the traffic, noise, etc. too.

You could say that Festival is "unnecessary" too. It may even be a greater polluter with all those grills going non-stop :D . But it also brings hundreds of thousands together for something they enjoy. There are those who don't like festival, but those who do have fun and spend a great deal of money in the city. Same for Blues on the Mall, etc.

BTW, the Waters Building was not in the downtown race circuit. There were no fences that prevented anyone from reaching that area. The organizers were very careful about maintaining access throughout the city and only "sealed" the circuit during the race weekend. Also, the safety fences that enclosed the track were 10 or 12' tall.

I will agree that the downtown races were an unfortunate disruption for some, but those that enjoyed them would pay to have them return.

Well, I don't know what she was thinking, but obviously, she thought it was the only way to get there.

I think the big difference between the race and the festival is that with the race, people don't mingle so much (at least outside... I can't speak for the bars), and the track really divides things up. I'm with you re the grills at Festival. To me, Festival is just one big pork-out. It's not so much "Festival of the Arts" as "Festival of the Foods."

Still, I think racing is better suited for tracks already set up, e.g., Indy.

IMO.

:)

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I'd never pay to see a race at Indy, but I would pay to see a race in the city streets. I'm more of a street racing fan. When I play racing games on my PS2, I don't play any of those formula one or racing-course games, I play the ones where you race in the city streets. There's a whole added thrill about it, the sense of speed is enhanced... it's exciting. This is why I'd love to see it back in GR.

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I'd never pay to see a race at Indy, but I would pay to see a race in the city streets. I'm more of a street racing fan. When I play racing games on my PS2, I don't play any of those formula one or racing-course games, I play the ones where you race in the city streets. There's a whole added thrill about it, the sense of speed is enhanced... it's exciting. This is why I'd love to see it back in GR.

I see your point about the added thrill.

But it's not a video game. :) Do you work downtown?

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I have worked downtown for the last decade and I also volunteered at the Grand Prix the two years it ran. A lot of the wrinkles were worked out for the second year and it was a great event. Everyone I knew at the time was downtown once or twice over that weekend.

What really helped in year two was the addition of a "Taste of Grand Rapids" type of event as well as a concert stage. If I remember correctly, Susan Tedeschi was the headliner. By adding these things the race "atmosphere" appealed to many more people than it did the first year.

As far as traffic, it was a bit of a hassle getting around downtown, but isn't it every summer? Construction hassles are just a trade off for the benefit of a growing city.

If there was a problem it was noise. If you've never been to a race, you cannot fully appreciate how loud the race cars are. If they did it again, they would need to restrict practice until after 5pm. It was difficult to talk on the phone on Thursday and Friday while practice and qualifying were going on.

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