Nutter sees bike race back in 2014, others hope for this year

Posted: January 24, 2013

Will cycling competitors try to pump past each other on Manayunk's famed "Wall" this year as part of a Philadelphia International Cycling Championship?

Mayor Nutter will consider "any viable proposal" for 2013, spokesman Mark McDonald said Tuesday. But mostly, the mayor said in a statement, the focus is on securing a "major pro cycling event" in 2014.

"While we are all greatly disappointed by the cancellation of the Philadelphia International Cycling Championship this year owing to the organizer's inability to secure a title sponsor, I want all who are devoted to cycling to know that we are committed to working with the very best promoters to develop a complete event in 2014 that will reestablish our city as a world-class cycling destination," Nutter said.

Dave Chauner, one of the race's original organizers and president of the Pro Cycling Tour, said he had to cancel the race because he could not find a sponsor to replace TD Bank, which completed its financial commitment to the event last year.

Rising city costs also were a factor, he said. Since 2009, the amount the city has charged race organizers for police overtime and other expenses has jumped from $211,356 to $345,761.

That was in addition to losing $250,000 the city contributed to the race during the Street administration Chauner said. Under Nutter, the city has enforced a policy of requiring organizers of public events to pay city costs. Chauner still owes the city $320,000 from last year, McDonald said.

"City taxpayers are on the hook for this," McDonald said.

Costs increased in part because police officers got raises, he said.

The number of police detailed to the event also has been increased to counter drunkenness and other crowd behavior that bothered neighbors.

Chauner said that before paying, he wanted more answers from city officials about how they calculated the amount.

"Their outreach to us has been, 'When are you going to pay the bill?' Anyone who is going to pay six figures of cost for anything should have the right to sit down and go through the bill," Chauner said.

The race, which made Manayunk an international destination for cyclists, was set for June 2.

Both U.S. Rep. Bob Brady (D., Pa.) and Jane Lipton, executive director of the Manayunk Community Development Corp., said they would press to have a race this year. They are scheduled to meet Friday morning.

"While I appreciate the mayor's stance on this, I am interested in putting something together for 2013," Lipton said. "It's important to the economic vitality of my district. I don't believe there should be a one-year hiatus."

Contact Miriam Hill at 215-854-5520 or Follow her on Twitter @miriamhill.

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