GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A bike racing event over the weekend caused significant damage to the grounds at Wilcox Park in Grand Rapids.
There was visible damage to the turf at the park, located in the Eastown area, and some neighbors expressed concern about how it will get fixed.
“Why here in this little park?” questioned Jim Davis, who lives near the park.
“I don’t know how you repair something like this,” park neighbor Cindy Birch said.
The Cyclocross event called the “Fall Fury CX” lasted two days and has taken place at Wilcox Park for the last three years, Grand Rapids city officials said.
This year, rain softened the ground, leading to the visible damage left behind.
“The damage, I think, was more extensive than what was anticipated … I think it was greater than the event organizer anticipated, as well,” David Marquardt, Director of the city’s parks department, said.
Parks officials say the organizers of the event are responsible for the damage and are cooperating with the city.
“The event organizer has lined up some remediation work to be completed,” Marquardt said.
Nate Phelps, the organizer of the event and owner of Central District Cyclery, said he loves Wilcox Park just as much as those who are frustrated by the damage. He said he is well aware that he is responsible for the damage and will take care of it in cooperation with the city.
“I’m going to be responsible for the repairs,” Phelps said. “There’s places to go eat, it’s easy to get to, it’s close to the highway … [Wilcox Park] has a lot of good things going for it.”
Cancelling the event was not an option, Phelps said, under the rules put in place by the organization that sanctioned the race.
Phelps said visitors from as far as New York came to participate with the understanding that the event would only be canceled in case of severe weather that would threaten the safety of the participants, as stated in the sanctioning organization’s rules.