Philadelphia’s international bike race has been canceled, but supporters are trying to revive it yet again.
Mayor Jim Kenney’s office announced that the race that features laps over the hill known as the Manayunk Wall has been canceled for 2017 for lack of finding a $1 million sponsor for the cycling event.
Councilman Curtis Jones says that ensures taxpayers won’t be on the hook for race costs.
“They’re more conservative with an eye towards how do we get those dollars, how do we procure them because they do not want to at the end of the day like on two different occasions wind up holding the financial bag,” he said.
Canceling the event doesn’t sit well with U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, Democrat from Philadelphia, who says the bike race brings international attention to the city.
“it’s a great event, it’s great for the neighborhoods, it’s great for Manayunk and that area and they come back into center city again, it’s great for the city, it puts us back on the world stage again.”
Brady says he wants to resurrect the event for this year, not 2018. Race Director Robin Morton says it’s not so easy to bring back an event that has been canceled.
“They are international teams they need to schedule their racing programs, they can’t have a weekend without racing,” she explained.
Jane Lipton, Executive Director of the Manayunk Development Corporation, says security costs have skyrocketed since the Boston Marathon bombing. While the race brings people into the neighborhood, especially to watch riders scale the Wall, she says security was just too expensive.
Councilman Jones says he’s not giving up, and if the race remains dead he wants other events for the neighborhoods that had benefited from it.
“If we cannot salvage the bike race to provide other festivals, and block parties and things that might be able to generate some of the revenue.”
Jones adds he doesn’t think the city should necessarily be the entity that runs the event.