Folsom officials race forward with Amgen plans

City hopes to host start or finish of stage
By: Laura Newell, Telegraph staff writer
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Folsom has always been a bicycle friendly city and local leaders are working to make it a host city for the Amgen Tour of California, America?s largest cycling event. Recently, a team of city officials including City Manager Evert Palmer, Councilman Jeff Starsky, Parks and Recreation Director Robert Goss and Folsom Police Chief Cynthia Renaud, accepted an invitation from Amgen to witness the race start in Sonora. Officials said the team came away with the sense that Folsom is a natural for this event and should pursue the opportunity for next year?s Amgen. ?We are continuing to work with the race organizer to bring the race to Folsom,? Starsky said. ?We will be submitting a response to a RFP (request for proposal). We will also continue to dialogue with race officials promoting the benefits of Folsom as a start city.? The process of bringing a stage start or stage finish to Folsom includes submitting a proposal to the race organizers AEG Sports, assuming their requirements meet the city?s capabilities, Goss said. ?We are waiting for AEG to distribute the 2013 RFP. We will then request a proposal to host a stage start or stage finish of the tour. There are eight stages of the tour,? Goss said. Goss said there are a number of places the city can host a stage of the tour including, the Historic District, near Natoma Street or around the east area of Folsom near Palladio. ?If we are selected, the event will include a community effort,? Goss said. ?We will need the support of volunteers and those with expertise in many areas including public relations, hospitality, cycling and much more.? Starsky said there are two main benefits to bringing the race to Folsom. ?First the city would receive a substantial economic development benefit from all of the spectators and visitors to our city. Hotels, restaurants and retailers would see an influx of customers since the race travels with a large number of personnel as well as drawing spectators from around the region,? he said. ?The second benefit would be the international coverage the city would receive from being part of this race. The race is covered by numerous television stations and is broadcast internationally. This would give Folsom a tremendous exposure to a national and international audience which would be some of the best PR we could get to bring visitors to our city.? Starsky said while in Sonora, they got a great glimpse of the type of success small cities can have hosting this event. ?We learned about the necessary infrastructure needed, the level of volunteers and police services that would be necessary as well as the level of involvement of public works and other city staff,? he said. ?We also learned how much space we would need to stage the event. ?We learned that Folsom could easily host this event and the energy it brought to the little town of Sonora was palpable. It is clearly something we should try to bring to Folsom.? Both Starsky and Goss said Folsom?s ?historic Gold Rush? atmosphere will bring an intimate, friendly feeling to tour athletes and spectators. ?Folsom has a great reputation of a bicycle friendly community and has a great heritage of bicycling,? Starsky said. ?This race is a natural for our city.?