IndyCar just announced that it will host a major race in Boston over Labor Day weekend next year. I guess that puts the final nail in the coffin of the Baltimore Grand Prix.
Grand Prix naysayers take note: At least one good thing came out of Baltimore’s controversial bid to host a major IndyCar race. An adorable kitten found a home. (More pictures below the jump!)
Let’s just get this out of the way: haters gonna hate. Or, in other words, if you’re already anti-Grand Prix, it’s unlikely at this late stage that we can change your mind. But if you do find yourself even just a little bit curious, or at least open minded about the “celebration of acceleration,” we heartily encourage you to don your most-appropriate-for-watching-a-car-race attire and to head downtown to check it out. Yes, the Grand Prix causes all sorts of traffic and parking problems, and yes, it’s loud, and yes, it is all about really fast cars and the fact that the drivers might die, and not much else. But if you’ve never seen car racing live, well—let’s just say that so many millions of NASCAR fans can’t be wrong.
The musical headliners for this weekend’s Grand Prix festivities is Live, a band you may remember from its 1994 alternative radio hit “Lightning Crashes.” In that song, they namedrop a placenta, and from what I can tell, they haven’t done anything particularly interesting in the 20 years since. Ed Kowalczyk, the band’s bald, emotive lead singer left the band in 2009, so they’re pretty much a pure nostalgia act at this point. And they’re not the only 1990s throwback act planning a Baltimore stop in the near future.
Steven D. Silverman, attorney for the now defunct Baltimore Racing Development — last year’s Grand Prix organizers — announced recently that the group is starting to pay toward the $600,000 or so they still owe in back taxes. He blamed the group’s lack of funds on “outsiders” who created an “unexpected deficit.” Outsiders. I love that, very mysterious, and a little xenophobic — was it the mafia? extraterrestrial extortionists?
We didn’t think we’d see the (green) day, but Baltimore City earlier this month commissioned a contractor to plant 150 trees in (or near) those downtown plots the Baltimore Racing Development group had plucked bare but guaranteed to replenish. These 150 trees – bankrupt Baltimore Racing has officially stiffed us on the 198 they promised – are worth $41,500 according to Erik Dihle, city forester, as reported by Tim Wheeler in The Baltimore Sun.
Just as this pricy plan comes as fresh dig to us at Baltimore Fishbowl, citizen activist (and tree-hugging lawsuit-filer) David Troy’s also surprised. He told The Sun he’s pleased that trees are being planted, but ticked by the taxpayers’ burden.
“The thing that everybody was also annoyed about and afraid of was that taxpayers were going to end up footing the bills for this,” he said, “and that’s exactly what has happened.”
Okay, so we’ve accepted that the trees promised by the Grand Prix’s penniless — and since dismissed — Baltimore Racing Development company probably aren’t coming through (the ground). But we’re breathing easier to hear about the State Highway Administration’s upcoming efforts to plant a whopping 28,000 trees — plus, the additional plantings in store by another vital program, TreeBaltimore. In light of a new study by the U.S. Forest Service, revealing that 17 of 20 U.S. cities have lost tree cover, with Baltimore’s leafy loss among the worst of the bunch, we need good green news just now.