The man who originally moved this weekend’s Detroit Grand Prix to Belle Isle says the event is helping to improve the island, not hurt it.
Some protesters argue the race disrupts the natural beauty of the island.
In recent days some activists complained that the several months it takes to set-up and tear-down the temporary Grand Prix track on Belle Isle destroys the serenity the island is supposed to provide.
They also say a slab of concrete used as the pit area for the race has sullied the islands’ natural landscape.
But Grand Prix promoter and legendary auto racing team owner Roger Penske says the event is staged on Belle Isle as a way to showcase the best face of Detroit.
Penske says the current state of the island is a far cry from the overgrown brush and unsanitary restrooms that dotted Belle Isle.
“It’s a different place,” Penske said. “You know the lights (on the bridge leading to the island.) Just come across the bridge at night. It lights you up when you come on. And what we’ve been able to certainly do on the western end of the island…I think that’s migrating to the eastern end.”
Grand Prix organizers say they have poured about $13 million into improving the island’s infrastructure.