City council approves bike race

ISHPEMING — The Ishpeming City Council met Monday morning to discuss whether to allow the Red Earth Classic bike race run through the city again this year.

The meeting started out with a voicing of support from local business owners involved with the event, many of which emphasized the event’s financial importance to Ishpeming businesses. After the council deliberated over whether to approve the race or wait until a general policy for events like this is created, an amended motion to approve the race with three specific stipulations was put to a vote.

“One of them was an insurance requirement that came up from our insurance carrier, and it only came up within the last few days,” said Ishpeming Mayor Mike Tonkin. “So it was a good idea to get them in line so that they would have to make the required commitment to the proper insurance to cover the race.”

The other two stipulations were that no paint was to be used on the course and that event organizers would have to follow MDOT requirements for road crossings. The measure passed with a single vote of no and an abstention.

The City Manager is also putting together a committee to work on a general city policy for events in the future.

“He has just appointed a group — an ad hoc committee — to work on the policies for situations like this,” said Tonkin, “so that we can go through with a clearer system. In other words, something that you can just pull something off the shelf, give it to an event, and say here, here’s what you have to follow, and it makes life easier for everybody.”

“I think that one important factor is that it’s non–discriminatory,” Matt Palomaki, co-race director for the Red Earth Classic added. “Other than that, we’re absolutely for 100 percent a policy that lays out what you can and shouldn’t do to have an event in the area. I think it makes it clearer for everybody and easier on everybody in the long run.”

Palomaki added that he and the other race director are both Ishpeming natives, and are happy that the council stepped up and passed the motion to have the race there.