USGP F1 track in Jersey City, N.J. nixed

Date: 5/11/2010 11:36:12 PM

May 5
USGP F1 track in Jersey City, N.J. nixed
By Walter Elliott
 JERSEY CITY, N.J. --  Those favoring returning FIA Formula One to the United
States have crossed off Liberty State Park here as a venue after Mayor Jerramiah
T. Healy's turning down May 4.

 Healy asked the city's tourism office, Destination Jersey City, to withdraw a draft
plan for a 3.6-mile 17-turn temporary road course that was put before him May 3. 
  The course, which would have been hosting the latest USGP incarnation 2012-16,
would use internal accrss roads within the 1,200-acre state park. The site would
also have been held with a Statue of Liberty and Manhattan skyline backdrop.

 "After a review of the draft proposal prepared by the city's tourism office, I've
come to the same conclusion as Sam Pesin and the Friends of Liberty State Park
that this type of event is not suited for Liberty State Park," said Healy in a May 5
statement. "While we work to attract national and international events to our city,
we must ensure that they are appropriate and will have the least impact upon the
quality of life of our residents and community."
 Pesin is president of FoLSP, a community advocacy group that works with the city
and New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection onthe park's creation and
operation. The group was founded by the late Morris Pesin in converting the former
Central of New Jersey Railroad terminal and rail yard.
 "Mayor Healy reached out to me (May 3) and we had a very constructive
conversation," said Sam Pesin in published reports." "I'm very greatful that his
further review of the proposal by the city's tourism official and also his heart and
family values led him to this decision. You'd end up having the name changed to
Liberty Race Track."
 Pesin added that Liberty State Park is using $32 million in state and federal grants
to create a 40-acre salt marsh and 100 acres of forest and nature trails. The race
course would have used part of the said 140 acres.
 Jesey City Councilman Steven Fulop, saying that residents could use more ball
fields, also opposed the draft plan.
 The proposal, had it received Healy's recommendation, would have to go through
a city planning board public hearing. It would have had to also seek approval
from NJDEP. 
 DEP spokesman Larry Ragonese said, to the "Jersey Journal," that no formal
application had been filed with the agency. Pesin said no proposal representative
contacted him or FoLSP.
 The proposal is thought, by some observers, to have been forwarded to the J
Jersey City Economic Developmwnt Corporation's tourism office with permission of
Formula One Management. FOM President Bernie Ecclestone had been quoted in an
Italian sports magazine March 24 that he would like to stage an F1 GP "in 2012
opposite Manhattan in New Jersey with skyscrapers in the background."
 New York Grand Prix, Inc., had proposed a temporary F1 course to Newark city
and Essex County officials in 1983. The course would have gone into either Branch
Brook Park or Weequahic Park -- two county-owned parks in Newark's north or
south wards.
 NYGP Inc. was seeking a replacement for the USGP in Watkins Glen, N.Y., which
was in bankruptcy in 1981. The promoter of the Long Beach (Calif.) GP
switched from the headlining F1 cars to CART Indy cars after April 1983.
 "The county executive at the time, Peter Shapiro, backed it but we opposed it,"
said Newark Preservation and Landmarks Committee Executive Director Douglas
Eldridge at his East Orange home Monday morning. "It would have brought lasting
damage to parks designed by Frederick Law Olmstead's firm."

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