Steen said this morning that City Council’s approval was beneficial because it gave him the go-ahead to discuss the project with the community and other key players.
“It is a study and it’s up to me to get everyone involved in that,” he said.
According to Steen, a former racing event he put together in Grand Rapids in 1998 and 1999 attracted an estimated 150,000 spectators and $1 million in sponsorships, and had a local economic impact of $20 million each year. It was discontinued when organizers were unable to secure major sponsors for a third year.
The study for a Grand Haven event would last five months and would be due to be completed by July 6. It would look into items such as economic impacts and safety, and impacts to the local infrastructure.
Steen said he was looking forward to having as much community involvement in the study as possible.
“Community is the most important part, and the mayor and city manager have given us the opportunity to (do a study),” he said.
Steen said including the community and local stakeholders in the study is the only way the event was going to happen, and he said he intended to get the ball rolling soon on a “design charrette” to look at possible routes for the race course.
Mayor Geri McCaleb said she was intrigued with the plan and with what the study would say about the event, and also said the city was interested in hearing what all parties had to say about it.
“I think it’s an interesting proposal to look into, but there’s a lot of questions to be asked and a lot of questions to be answered,” McCaleb said.
Councilman Dennis Scott said he was also looking forward to hearing about Steen’s plan and how it would fit in the local community.
“I am interested in seeing how the study goes and how the course is laid out,” Scott said.
Steen’s proposal comes on the heels of a recent moratorium passed in 2011 by City Council on any new events in Grand Haven. The city passed the moratorium in 2011 due to a belief that the summer calendar of events was already full.