GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - On the same day they debated the noise and congestion expected from motorcycles in downtown Grand Rapids, city commissioners heard a proposal for another ear-ringing event.
Promoters of Rock the Rapids, a multi-day music event music that has taken place at Fifth Third Ballpark the past two summers, want to move the festival downtown.
Rock the Rapids would expand to six days, from Aug. 8 through Aug. 13.
Promoter Denny Baxter wants to take over the parking lot, one block south of Van Andel Arena, to host the event.
Baxter said Fifth Third has been a good venue, but it's been a challenge to schedule the festival around the West Michigan Whitecaps' home stands. He wants to give Rock The Rapids a more permanent annual date.
"It's been a great incubator, but it's time to move," Baxter said.
He is promoting the festival as an inexpensive family event.
"I'd like to see ticket prices as low as $10," Baxter told commissioners.
There was very little debate on Rock the Rapids; most commissioners seemed to like what they were hearing.
The discussion on River City Bike Week went a bit differently.
"I'm hearing five commissioners who are expressing some significant concerns," Mayor George Heartwell said.
Similar to Muskegon's Bike Time, supporters want to bring thousands of motorcycles and their riders to the same area around Van Andel Arena this summer.
But their hopes are fading fast.
Supporters have been met with a lot of opposition, from business owners and residents in that area with concerns centered around noise and congestion.
However, both events would bring noise and congestion to downtown.
So, why wasn't there more debate over Rock the Rapids?
"I think it's a different event, in terms of the bikes that drive around and rev up and maybe a little bit more difficult in controlling that noise," Second Ward Commissioner Ruth Kelly said.
What kind of noise?
Promoters of Rock the Rapids said most concerts would generate around 85 decibels, around the perimeter of the venue.
State law says a passing motorcycle can't register more than 86 decibels as it drives down the street. But since this is a rally with bikes running in packs, multiply that rating by a few dozen bikes.
Organizers were given another week to convince opponents Bike Week could be a good thing.
And if they can't?
"I've heard it reported to me that there has been some phone calls emanating from other cities, to various people on board," Promoter Bob Struyk said.
24 Hour News 8 checked with Kentwood, Wyoming and Walker. Officials from the three cities said they had not been contacted, and haven't put out the welcome mat to Bike Week.
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