Barricade around Genesee Towers to stay up for Crim

by Joe Lawlor | The Flint Journal
FLINT, Michigan -- The barricade on E. First Street by Genesee Towers, which closes two of the four lanes for about half a block, will remain up for the Crim Festival of Races.
The barricade was installed for safety reasons last year in front of the dilapidated Genesee Towers, to shield pedestrians from falling debris.
Deb Kiertzner, race director, said the Crim considered changing the course for the Aug. 23 race, but decided against it.
"We looked at this very, very closely," Kiertzner said. "But as long as it's clearly marked, we don't think it will be a problem to navigate."
Kiertzner said they will put cones on E. First Street, starting from the turn from Chavez Drive, so runners know that they will be funneled from four lanes to two.
Kiertzner said there's a narrower passage on Robert T. Longway Boulevard, near the post office, and runners don't have a problem there.
The E. First Street location is also farther along the race, at about 1 1/4-miles, while the post office is about 1/2-mile into the 10-mile race.
Mark Bauman, owner of Bauman's Running and Walking Group, said he doesn't see it as a problem.
Bauman, who has run in every Crim, said he doesn't even think it will be an eyesore to out-of-town runners.
"To someone who doesn't know what's going on here, it looks like a construction site," Bauman said. "And there's a lot of construction going on downtown."
The city and Towers owner Kumar and Sasikala Vemulapalli are locked in a dispute over how much the building is worth. The city is appealing an arbitrator's decision that would award Vemulapalli $6 million for the city to take over the building.
Ken Harrison, an attorney for Vemulapalli, said they would have no comment while the case is pending.
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