So now we know… Jersey City

The mystery of the potenhtial venues of a United States GP has been solved with news that an organisation called The Friends of Liberty State Park has come out in opposition to a Grand Prix at the Jersey City venue. The director of tourism for Destination Jersey City, a non-profit run by the Jersey City Economic Development Corporation to promote the city, is reported to have compiled a proposal to entice F1 to hold a Grand Prix in the 1,200-acre park in 2012. Among those opposed to the idea is Sam Pesin, president of board of trustees of The Friendsof Liberty State Park, whose father established the park. He seems to be under the impression that this would lead to a permanent race track.

“You’d end up having the name changed from Liberty State Park to Liberty Race Track,” he told the Jersey Journal.

The Friends are upset that they have not been approached about the idea, despite supporting events such as concerts, which they say do not permanently impact the park.

Mayor Jerramiah T Healy has since issued a statement saying that the city’s proposal came at the request of Formula 1.

“This was a response to an overture made by Formula One, and Jersey City is one of several cities they are pursuing,” he said. “There have been a few, preliminary conversations and this is very much in the exploratory phase. However, this may not be something that is in the best interest of Jersey City or Liberty State Park.”

The plan would need to be approved by the state Department of Environmental Protection as the park is owned by the state and not by Jersey City itself. The proposal looks at the possibility of a five-year commitment to hold annual Grand Prix in the park.

Jersey City Councilman Steven Fulop has also come out against the idea.

“If you’re going to do anything for the park, the priorities should be recreation for residents,” he said. “We could definitely use more ball fields, we don’t need a racetrack.”

Fulop might be interested to know that when Melbourne’s Albert Park was refigured for a Grand Prix, the park’s other sporting activities were multiplied several times, with new facilities being built in addition to upgrading existing ones.

The plan is said to conflict with a $32 million ecological restoration project, which includes creating a 40-acre salt marsh, over 100 acres of forest and a network of nature trails. The federal government is contributing $20.8 million, with the state paying $11.2 million. The plan for a track includes a section in this area.

Liberty State Park was opened in June 1976, as New Jersey’s bicentennial gift to the nation. It was created when the railroads and industry in the area declined and the land was left abandoned and became a desolate dump. The development of park began a renaissance of the waterfront.

Here is a plan for the race track that is included in the proposal. It is by no means definitive, but shows the possibilities available in the park.

10 thoughts on “So now we know… Jersey City

  1. Joe…just to tell you about something…I went to the annual Superboat International Offshore Powerboat Race (http://www.superboat.com/events.cfm?action=details&id=124) one year and swore to never go back to Liberty State Park again because of one account, that the local New Jersey Police Force doesn’t bother any of the race fans for alcohol consumption!

    The cops in New Jersey are some of the biggest a-holes around and they have busted and cracked down on anyone drinking at any major sporting event in the park because there is a state law that prohibits beer distribution and consumption.

    If the race is to be held there, then Bernie would have to push for clemency for all concessions, including alcohol. If this doesn’t happen the race attendance would suffer greatly as NJ cops would arrest race fans for violating this stupid law, thus no one would go for fear of having a good time.

    The NYC Superboat race has died a slow death in race attendance numbers because of this problem with the local police, and that’s the bitter truth!

  2. Not a single place to pass. This would be boring racing as almost all temporary tracks are. I hope this is not the US GP. Same as a race through Rome (If it comes about), same as Valencia, same as Singapore. Temporary street tracks are boring and BE needs to see this.

    1. James

      You may be a little bit premature in writing off the race track. It is not definitive. As I explained it is just an idea of what could be…

  3. Not so much this track but the trend that F1 seems to be going for more and more temporary city tracks is bothering me. Its hard for me to think of a temporary race track in any series that produces good racing. We had a pretty decent track here in Vancouver during the CART days, it had one legitimate passing place (which is one more then Singapore and Valencia combined). Surely the US can do better then this proposal.

  4. The layout doesn’t inspire, assuming it’s the dark purple dashed one. OK it’s just a concept but regardless the problem with temporary/street circuits is that the terrain which you want as your backdrop severely constrains your track design options.

    We see Tilke struggling to come up with anything interesting with a blank canvas a la Bahrain/Abu Dhabi/Shanghai, let alone constrain him with streets and roads like in Valencia and Singapore.

  5. Can I at least say “I told you so!” Joe? Kidding aside, the points I posted in response to your other story regarding the Meadowlands still ring true. There are numerous upside factors to this site and this is the kind of space F1 needs to actually build a viable event in the United States…

  6. Would you describe Montreal as a temporary track? If so I have never seen a boring race there and Albert Park this year (if that also falls under the definition) was no bore either. I think we have to wait and see how wide it would be before passing comment. Obviously it wouldn’t be that wide but we should be patient.

    In the current economic climate money will win in the end and city tracks may not be everybodys cup of tea but they are convenient for fans and teams, provide an association and bond to a city, provide economic boosts for unemployed and local government, they are picturesque and the possible lack of on track passing is something I for one would be willing to give up for the rest of those things.

    If you want a race 20 miles outside a city that is a nightmare to get to and from and will cost more for the fans to enjoy etc just for a little extra passing, be my guest.

  7. The people who are opposed to this temporary circuit because of fears about it having a negative impact on the city and its residents are misinformed. A U.S. example of the reality is that after having a temporary street circuit for many years, the downtown area of Long Beach has been transformed from a scary looking place into a modern, vibrant city center.

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