Representatives of the Grand Prix of Boston IndyCar race that's planned for the Seaport District this summer faced some tough questions from the Boston City Council yesterday, with several councilors striking a deeply skeptical note about the event.

Case in point: Councilor Bill Linehan, who asked if a hazardous waste site on the race course could be disturbed.

"It’s been reported that there are some environmental issues related to the existing course as it’s designed," Linehan noted.

The answer from race organizers was an unequivocal “no.” 

"If you attend this race, if you live near this race, or if you're driving in this race, we would love this race to continue year to year," said race spokesman Chris Keohan. "And nobody will attend, and nobody will drive in it, if they don't feel safe."

The sharpest back and forth came when councilor Michael Flaherty asked about charitable donations to local sports programs—a question that seemed to catch race CEO John Casey off guard.

"The Grand Prix is a sporting event," Flaherty said, his voice rising. "So it's fair  for me to assume that you've reached out to the local sport organizations, for example, South Boston youth hockey, South Boston Little League, South Boston youth sort of make a connection to sports organizations in the host community that's going to be putting up with 170,000 people!"

Haltingly, Casey replied that his group plans to make "several hundred thousand dollars" worth of tickets available to such groups.

Also raised at the hearing: the traffic impact from the three-day event, and the noise it’s likely to generate.

When Casey said the race wouldn’t be that loud—with maximum volumes of 110 decibels comparable to, as he put it, "a garbage disposal"—council president Michelle Wu pushed back, noting that the city's daytime noise limit is 70 decibels.

Members of the public who showed up to testify seemed apprehensive, too.

One man who lives nearby expressed concern about the ability of emergency vehicles to travel through the area during the event. A woman who resides in the neighborhood had an even sharper critique.

"The city doesn't need another event like this," she said. "We have the Boston Marathon, the Boston Symphony, the Boston Ballet, the Boston Pops, the Fourth of July, three major sports teams." (She didn't specify whether it's the Bruins, the Celtics, the Patriots, or the Red Sox that don't pass muster.) 

Still, the Grand Prix of Boston does have the support of Boston Mayor Marty Walsh. Tickets are already on sale. And Casey, the race CEO, said yesterday that as long as the requisite permits come through, he believes the Grand Prix of Boston is a done deal. 

UPDATE: After WGBH News left Tuesday’s hearing, several individuals spoke positively about the race, including residents of South Boston and representatives of the charities that race organizers have already partnered with—e.g., the Greater Boston Food Bank, Veterans Homestead, and Massachusetts Fallen heroes. All the public testimony, favorable and unfavorable, can be seen here, beginning at 2:11:18.
Also, Grand Prix of Boston CEO John Casey likened the maximum volume of the Grand Prix race to a garbage disposal, not a blender. That error has been corrected above.