June bicycle race to close six blocks in downtown Hagerstown
Six blocks of downtown Hagerstown will be closed for five hours on the night of June 17 for the 2011 Tour of Washington County bicycle race. (By Chad Trovinger / May 16, 2011)
The Antietam Velo Club will open the three-day stage race June 17 with three timed races on city streets. The Friday event is being billed as the Tour of Washington County Kick Off Classic.
The races will travel an 0.8-mile loop on South Potomac Street, Baltimore Street, Hood Street, Summit Avenue and West Washington Street, club representative Joseph Jefferson said.
Hagerstown City Council will vote on a traffic-control plan for the race at its May 24 meeting at 7 p.m.
Hagerstown Police Department Sgt. Kevin Simmers said the plan is to close portions of South Potomac, Baltimore, Hood, West Washington and Antietam streets, as well as Summit Avenue, from 5 to 10 p.m. for the event.
A mix of traffic controls — including signs, cones and barricades — will be in place to detour traffic away from the route, he said. There also will be controls to protect racers, such as bales of hay, Simmers said.
City Community Affairs Director Karen Giffin said her department raised money to pay for the use of city services at the event. Those services included police and staff from public works, which were estimated to cost $2,550, of which Conservit Inc. has committed $1,710 and Hub City Cycles committed $500, according to city documents. Giffin said the city will pay the remaining $340 with funds from its public functions account that were left over from a previous event.
Tour of Washington County drew more than 300 cyclists last year, Jefferson said. He said he expects close to that number this year.
More than $7,500 will be awarded to racers during the stage race, which is sponsored by State Farm Insurance of Hagerstown, as well as by national companies like SRAM, Rockstar Energy Drink and Clif Bar, Jefferson said.
State Farm Insurance of Hagerstown will provide $4,000 in prizes, he said.
The stage race starts Saturday, June 18, in Smithsburg with a prologue race to establish a leader. It continues with a road race in Smithsburg later that day, a time trial race in Boonsboro on the morning of Sunday, June 19, and concludes Sunday afternoon with a race on the streets of Williamsport, Jefferson said.
Williamsport Town Council voted in April to allow its streets to be closed and used for the race. While the council agreed to allow the race in town, Councilwoman Maya Haines said previously that she was troubled over how an older neighbor was denied access to her house during last year’s race. Haines said the incident left a bad taste in her mouth.
Tim Lung, a representative of Antietam Velo Club, said at the time that he has been satisfied with the way the event has been handled in Williamsport, but he suggested a logistics meeting before the race to go over procedures in town.
Williamsport and Hagerstown are the only portions of the tour that will be held on closed streets, Jefferson said.
Simmers said police will be stationed on all four corners of the Kick Off Classic race route and that fire police will be distributed throughout the route to monitor traffic, especially traffic that must leave the area.
“Of course you are going to be able to get out,” Simmers said of those who work or live on the streets scheduled for closure. “We won’t trap you.”
Jefferson said this will be the first time the tour has come to Hagerstown on a Friday night. It also is the only night race for amateur cyclists that he knows of in the mid-Atlantic region, he said.
Giffin said the Kick Off Classic will coincide with Wind Down Friday at The Maryland Theatre. Wind Down is a weekly event on Friday evenings at the theater that features music and refreshments.