Home Page Archive 2018

Previous announcements on the 2018 Home Page:


Until August 2, 2018, the DNR will also accept public comments,questions, and other feedback via email at


Please stand with us! Fight the DNR’s rubber stamp for the Grand Prix on Belle Isle! It is NOT acceptable!

Your voice is important this Thursday now more than ever! Please speak out against the DNR’s counter proposal announced on July 27th to keep the Grand Prix on Belle Isle Park for at least three more years.

Attend the public meeting, Thursday, August 2, 2018, 6 p.m. @ the Belle Isle Nature Center.

This is likely the last public meeting before a final decision on the GP contract is made by the DNR.

The counter proposal by the DNR:

    • Accepts allowing the Grand Prix 62 days for set-up and break-down of the race
    • Accepts the Grand Prix paying only $410,000/year for taking over the island for the spring. (That’s insulting. No amount of money is worth destroying or disrupting a jewel like Belle Isle.)
    • Makes unsubstantiated claims that the Grand Prix:
    1. Worldwide TV coverage benefits the city’s image
    2. Generates $58 million in spending for the local economy
    3. Has invested $13.5 million in park enhancements
    • Accepts the economic impact study performed by Grand Prix hired consultants without ever having a study performed on the economic impact/value of Belle Isle Park to the community
    • States that professional beach volleyball and soccer tournaments in Grand Haven State Park are similar to the occupation of the Grand Prix on Belle Isle
    • Does not include a cost benefit analysis of the race – which includes costs for police and fire and citizen’s loss of the use of their park for health and recreation, etc. for 62+ days*
    • Does not include a third-party study of the race’s environmental impacts**
    • Does not even cite one of the biggest public concerns or “affects” which is the destruction of Belle Isle Park’s natural landscape with excessive concrete of the 10 acre paddock and widening of streets for the Grand Prix racetrack
    • Violates its own mission and guidelines for large events

To see the complete DNR assessment of the Grand Prix Proposal visit their website: https://www.michigan.gov/documents/dnr/BI_grand_prix_counter_proposal_628837_7.pdf

The DNR is also accepting citizen comments via email thru 8/2:


Check our website, www.belleisleconcern.com and Facebook Page, “Belle Isle: Park or Racetrack” for updates and information on why the Grand Prix doesn’t belong on Belle Isle.

Your participation is needed! Please feel free to forward this message to others!

Thank you!

Sandra Novacek for Belle Isle Concern

*Parks enhance property values, provide recreational opportunities, improve human health, attract visitors, and provide natural goods and services such as filtering air pollutants and retaining storm water. They support local jobs, boost spending at local businesses, and create local tax revenue and increase the value of nearby residential properties, etc. **Compatibility with land use for a park, community, neighborhood character, etc.; air pollution; noise; sewer and sanitation; storm water - runoff, paving issues; traffic; parking; plants, trees; animals – birds, threatened animals; historic structures – vibrations - Belle Isle is on the National Register of Historic Places; cultural resources



On July 13, 2018, at a meeting of the Belle Isle Park Advisory Committee Meeting (rescheduled from July 19), Grand Prix organization spokesman Michael Montri presented a proposal to the DNR for a new three-year contract with a two-year extension option, decreasing the total occupation time by only three days to 62 days. The Prix offered to increase their permit fee from $200,000 to $300,000 plus make an annual $50,000 donation to any DNR project and a $35,000 donation for

programming events on the paddock.

Two dozen or so red-shirted Grand Prix volunteers attended (apparently they had plenty of notice about the switch in meeting days!) and many of them spoke, but otherwise we "handful of critics" dominated a ninety-minute public comment session.

Belle Isle Conservancy head Michele Hodges and Sommer Woods, both advisory committee members, went to great lengths to defend their ties to Penske because we had pointed out their conflicts of interest. Montri also claimed that the race generated $31M in economic benefits, backing down from previous (bogus) bigger claims. Montri even mused that in a few years Penske may decide the Grand Prix has "done enough"

for Belle Isle and walk away!


There are two ways to respond to the DNR re the Grand Prix proposal. After an internal evaluation and a review of public comments, the DNR will present its preliminary decision on the contract at a Belle Isle Park Advisory Committee (BIPAC) meeting August 2 at 6 p.m. at the Belle Isle Nature Center (176 Lakeside Drove in Belle Isle Park) If you can, come and speak during public comment time. You will be limited to three minutes.

Until August 2, 2018, the DNR will also accept public comments,questions, and other feedback via email at

DNR-GrandPrix-Proposal@michigan.gov. If you oppose the Grand Prix being held on Belle Isle, submit your comments on the proposal ASAP. There is no limit to how long your comments can be. You might also consider sending copies of your comments to news outlets and community leaders and posting them on social media.

You can view the proposal and an outline of the event extension process at https://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,4570,7-350-79137_79763_79901---,00.html or

http://www.michigandnr.com/parksandtrails/Details.aspx?id=736&type=SPRK. There is a link to what is labeled the "DRAFT Grand Prix Proposal." Since this appears to be a "permit application" written in legal language and does NOT contain many of the aspects of the proposal as explained in the PowerPoint presentation, page 12, we have asked for DNR clarification.

A proposal for a new Grand Prix contract will be presented at a hastily rescheduled Belle Isle Park Advisory Committee (BIPAC) meeting on Belle Isle Friday morning. See agenda below. No reason for the last-minute switch of meeting time and location has been given by the DNR.

On July 3, the DNR notified park staff and conservancy members that the contract proposal will be “presented” by the Grand Prix organization at the July meeting of the Belle Isle Park Advisory Committee (BIPAC) on July 13. The meeting is normally held on the third Thursday of each month—which would have been July 19. The DNR did not issue any press release announcing the sudden change of date for this crucial meeting, the first chance for the public to learn anything about the proposed contract.

We only learned about this meeting Monday. It seems the DNR is trying to keep critics of the race from speaking out.

Please help counter their propaganda. Holding the Grand Prix in a public park violates the public trust and the mission and stewardship criteria of the DNR (and the Belle Isle Conservancy).

Belle Isle is a public park and natural resource that should provide free and unrestricted access to people every day of the year. The park is vital to the quality of life for citizens. Running the Grand Prix on Belle is a detriment to the people, the land, the resources and the infrastructure.


Keep updated by visiting this website or the Facebook group Belle Isle: Park or Racetrack? The DNR has promised a public hearing and review process for any new contract, expected soon.


Make your voice heard - "No New Grand Prix Contract." Contact: Keith Creagh, Director, DNR at 517.284.6367, email DNR-Director@michigan.gov; Ron Olson, Parks & Recreation Chief at 517.284.7275, email olsonr@michigan.gov;

Residents of the City of Detroit, contact Brenda Jones, President, Detroit City Council, 313.224.1245, bjones_mb@detroitmi.gov and/or your other City Council members. The city still owns the park. It is the landlord leasing the park to the DNR. Click on the "Take Action to Protect Belle Isle Park" at the bottom of the "Navigation column on the left side of this page for email and snail mail addresses.

(Click on image to enlarge)


53% of Detroit Curbed.com readers say:

"No Grand Prix on Belle Isle."


Come join Belle Isle Concern for an event on Monday, June 1, 2018 from 5-9 pm at The Old Miami, 3930 Cass Avenue, Detroit 48201.

Please help us write postcards to Detroit City Council and the DNR protesting the Grand Prix being held on Belle Isle Park.

We will provide a message (that can also be used as a text), cards, and pens. Donations of postage paid cards and/or 35 cent stamps are appreciated.

We are looking forward to meeting fellow protesters and sharing ideas!

Snacks will be provided with a cash bar.

Hope to see you there!

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We believe Belle Isle is a public park.

Not a private racetrack!

"As strategic planning moves forward for Belle Isle, Detroit Audubon recommends that habitat protection and nature-friendly family activities should be priorities. We do not support the programming of events like the Grand Prix or Red Bull car races. These events and the infrastructure they require are in conflict with nature, are disruptive to birds, and they do not belong on Belle Isle." --Detroit Audubon

“To occupy this beloved park [Belle Isle] for 68 spring and summer days, when street races around the world set up and tear down in weeks, is disrespectful to the Detroiters and Michiganders whose tax dollars built and maintain this gem of a park. And the State Department of Natural Resources, which manages the park under a lease deal with the City of Detroit, shouldn’t let it happen.” ---Detroit Free Press, October 13, 2017

This is NOT what a public park should be!

Belle Isle Park is a natural treasure in the City of Detroit. On Earth Day Belle Isle should be an obvious choice to visit and celebrate nature. But on Earth Day 2018 the island was invaded by heavy equipment and tons of concrete in preparation for the Grand Prix car race. This has continued for weeks. #earthdayfilms


Report shows Grand Prix will have one-third of the economic benefit Penske claims

The Grand Prix does not have a $58 million economic benefit to the Detroit area—not even according to a sports industry study that the Prix itself commissioned. The Metro Times obtained a copy of the report by Sportsimpact and found that it says the real local income is $20 million—and that’s only if you somehow count the $6 million in ticket sales as “local income.” Not only that, but the study doesn’t factor in money that would have been spent by people who don’t go into Detroit on race weekend because they’re “crowded out.” A sports economics expert says the Grand Prix PR is deceptive—“clearly wrong.” Read the April 30, 2018 MetroTimes article for details.

This organization's present primary concern is to have the Grand Prix on Belle Isle moved out of this foremost public park.

The Grand Prix is a billionaire-owned, noise-polluting, anti-nature, tarmac-and-concrete, profit-making concern. Detroit’s foremost public park is not the appropriate venue for it. Don't let private interests dominate the community and public good. Join the fight to ensure Belle Isle is a public park and not a private racetrack!

..."Belle Isle Beat-Up" - Enjoy a little dark humor

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Important upcoming event to protest voice your concerns about the Grand Prix on Belle Isle Park :

The Belle Isle Park Advisory Committee (BIPAC) meeting has been mysteriously rescheduled from Thursday, July 19 to Friday, July 13, 2018, from 9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. at the Boat House on Belle Isle.

Please attend to listen and speak if you have interest and concerns re the future of Belle Isle. Public comment is part of the agenda.

It is important to have many voices comment on the adverse effect of public Belle Isle Park being used and dominated for use as a private racetrack.


Belle Isle Concern is also on Facebook