Reporting Pat Warren
BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Another unpaid bill for the Baltimore Grand Prix and city residents could end up writing the check.
Political Reporter Pat Warren reports, the race organizers have missed the deadline for replacing the trees felled for the race.
The September inaugural of the Baltimore Grand Prix changes the landscape of the city’s role in major international sporting events.
“Great crowd! Such an enthusiastic welcome for indy car here in Baltimore,” Race Car Driver Dario Franchitti said.
But it leaves a scarred city landscape behind.
“I understand people’s concern about trees,” Baltimore Grand Prix Organizer Jay Davidson said. “I love trees. There’s no question in an urban environment to have them is very important.”
But dozens of trees had to go– a decision so painful for David Troy and others, they went to court.
“I posted a picture on my Facebook page and within just a few minutes, I had a whole bunch of people that were just outraged,” Troy said.
The solution was a promise to replant and multiply.
“The net benefit of the race will be three times the number of trees over the whole city,” Davidson said.
Another promise drowned in the Grand Prix sea of red ink.
“My concern was that taxpayers were gonna be the ones that had to pay for this,” Troy said.
And now, they may have to. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake was unavailable for comment Friday, but in a news conference immediately after the race she dismissed critics of the race.
“We seem determined to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory,” she said. “That we’re not gonna be satisfied until we identify every little thing that didn’t go 100 percent right.”
Now there’s $1.5 million owed to the city and a threat to cancel next year’s race if it doesn’t get paid. And no trees.
The cost to replace the tress is estimated at $100,000.