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Old Posted Mar 27, 2007, 11:53 AM
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NY Sun

Governors Island Could Play Host to an Auto Race

By ELIOT BROWN
March 27, 2007


A car-racing league is considering a slot on its circuit for Governors Island, the 172-acre former military base that the city and state are intending to develop.

A spokesman for the Indy Racing League, John Griffin, said the company hopes to add New York City to its racing league within a few years.

" Governors Island certainly is something that has come up, but in terms of definitive plans, we still have a long way to go," Mr. Griffin said. "We've had some discussions with people in the greater New York City area," including the agency overseeing the island's development. "No single idea has been approved or shot down," he added.

The Indy Racing League, which holds a 17-race circuit that includes the Indianapolis 500, three years ago began including courses that utilize city roads, as opposed to solely racing on oval tracks, Mr. Griffin said.

Representatives from the agency overseeing the project, the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation, could not be reached for comment yesterday afternoon.

The inquiries by the Indy Racing League were reported Sunday in the St. Petersburg Times.

The Gipec president, Leslie Koch, told the city Planning Commission yesterday that the task of creating a mixed-use development on Governors Island would be broken down into numerous pieces. Previously, the agency had asked single developers to submit bids to tackle the giant project themselves. However, the final submissions, which ranged from a Nickelodeon-themed amusement park to a giant CUNY campus, were considered disappointing and were rejected last fall.

Ms. Koch stressed that creating a world-class park for much of the island was at the top of her agenda, but no date has been set for new proposals.

"Our focus right now is on building the park," she said.

The push to give Governors Island a makeover has puttered along since 2003, when the space was acquired from the federal government with a provision that barred residential development. Earlier this year, Gipec announced a competition among five finalists to design the parkland section of the island, with the winner expected to be chosen in the summer.
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