Beyond: Although the “Chicago Street Race” is scheduled for July 1 and 2, the permit will cover 14 days, from June 22 through July 5, meaning parts of the park will be offline for two weeks during one One of the busiest areas of the year is the warm weather.
The statement from District spokeswoman Michelle Lemon, It came about four hours after publishing a column highly critical of the Lightfoot management for its failure to disclose key details about the event and its failure to involve the public in decision-making.
The answers now provided may give an indication of why the Lightfoot team has been reluctant to speak up.
According to the statement, the permit issued by NASCAR allows the rally and other events surrounding the race to “occupy a portion of Grant Park for a period of 14 days, from June 22 to July 5, 2023.”
The statement adds, “The event will take place between Michigan (Avenue) to Lake Shore Drive, and Roosevelt to Randolph.” Millennium Park is not a local property and is therefore not included in the plans.
When asked if the public would be able to use Grant Park on those days, Lemons replied, “The district will work with organizers to ensure that public access during the event is minimally affected.”
The district did not directly answer whether its deal with NASCAR would allow the financial motor racing organization to install temporary stands on park property for fans to watch the race, a regular feature at other NASCAR venues. But she hinted that the answer is yes in answering another question: What compensation will the region receive for the use of its property?
“The area compensation includes a $500,000 permit fee plus 15% net commissions on franchise and merchandise plus $2 for each entry ticket sold,” the statement says.
Lemons said the permit does not require and will not get a vote by the Parks Board in public, something that would allow tens of thousands of nearby affected residents to ponder whether racing is a good idea.
“In accordance with Chicago Park District law, revenue-generating agreements do not require Board approval,” the statement read. “The board of directors is kept informed of all important matters.”
Friends of the Parks, a civic group that monitors Park District activities, said it was not aware of any action brought to the board.
Other questions that remain unanswered include: what compensation the city will receive for the use of its streets, how long major roads such as DuSable Lake Shore Drive and Michigan Avenue will be closed, and whether the deal will be submitted to the city council for approval.
The city referred such questions to the “Choose Chicago Sports Commission,” a private organization affiliated with the city. This outfit said some compensation is being paid, but it’s unclear if that refers to the park area deal or something separate.
Lollapalooza, which begins today at the south end of Grant Park, includes closing some local streets south of Monroe Street for about a week, but not Drive or Michigan Avenue. He adds that the major music festival pays the area $7.8 million in rent annually.
Lightfoot argued that the race, which is supposed to happen annually for three years, would be a boon to the city as it tries to rebuild its tourism business after COVID.
The county refused to immediately release a copy of the NASCAR statement, and instead directed reporters to file a Freedom of Information Act request for the document.
2:10 PM Update:
ald. Brendan Riley, 42, whose ward covers most of the downtown area, struggles with it.
In an email, the councilman says he will move on when the next city council meets in September to restore the local council’s authority to approve or reject special events such as the proposed NASCAR race.
“When this privilege was granted to the executive by the city council, no one imagined that the mayor would use these powers to get around transparency and exclude local council members and their constituents from key decision-making processes,” Riley wrote in an email.
“This mayor abused this privilege,” he added. “As such, the city council will now have to take action, change the code and reinsert ourselves into the special event approval process.”
The permit fee amount has been corrected. An earlier version of this story stated that the fee was $500.