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Long Beach contract extension with Grand Prix association addresses Olympics and input on development

The City Council next week will consider extending its contract with the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach for five years, while requiring reduced set up and tear down time, prioritizing the 2028 Summer Olympics, and making the association a stakeholder in development discussions on portions of the race track.

The city’s contract with the association, which was approved in December 2017, is set to expire on June 30, 2023, but pending a council vote on Tuesday, Jan. 4, will run through 2028 instead.

Officials for the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach couldn’t immediately be reached for comment Thursday, Dec. 30.

The contract’s amendments would, among other things, trim set up and tear down time by four days for the 2023 races and beyond, according to a city staff report.

And beginning in 2023, the association won’t be allowed to make any street improvements or street decorations before 9 a.m. or after 6 p.m. It will, however, be allowed to do so the Monday before the race and 24 hours after the race, the staff report said.

And if the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach creates logistical challenges ahead of the Los Angeles Olympics, the city and association will “cooperate in good faith” to change the race schedule to accommodate the summer games.

If approved, the extension would also make the Grand Prix association a stakeholder in development discussions if parts of the race circuit are removed for development. If the city does choose to develop on parts of the race track, like the so-called elephant lot, it would have to notify the association.

Potential developers could also be required to discuss with the association ways it could incorporate parts of the race circuit into the design of any future developments, the staff report said.

And because of the financial hit the association took because of the pandemic — with the 2020 race canceled — the city will allow it to pay $94,749 in permit fees from this year’s three-day event over five years, with zero interest and with equal installments of $18,950, the staff report said. The association would also be responsible for oil emulsion treatments on some parts of affected asphalt.

The Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach has long been a major economic driver for the city, typically drawing thousands of folks to downtown over the course of three days. After a year and a half hiatus, the most recent race in September was especially important for the city, which saw about normal attendance numbers, despite the global pandemic.

The pandemic pushed the race to September, instead of its usual April spot, but in 2022, the race will return to Long Beach streets in April — marking a six and a half month turnaround.

To accommodate the quick turnaround, the city allowed the association to keep up some of its concrete structures from the September race to make setting up for the April race easier. Tickets for the race are now on sale.

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Source: Orange County Register

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