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By Jess Macinko
News Editor 

BMX park proposed

 

Contributed:Union Cyliste Internationale

The Feb. 21 city council meeting brought several dreams and schemes a little closer to reality, not the least of which is a proposed BMX park. The park, brainchild of Brock Warrener, received the city's blessing in a tentative allocation of land on Railroad Avenue. Now, it must be approved by area residents.

BMX stands for bicycle motocross, which is just what it sounds like: a non-motorized version of dirt-bike track racing. Warrener describes the proposed park as a 1000-foot track with four straightaways and three banked corners, folded into an area roughly 195 by 525 feet. The track, which features jumps and other obstacles, will be wide enough for eight people to safely race side by side.

Safety is a key goal for the park, as is encouraging exercise and community activity. Warrener describes BMX as a family sport, suitable for ages "two to 102."

The track will have something for all skill levels, Warrener says. "This is a sport where you can challenge yourself every single day to get better."

Though the track should accommodate any type of bike, Warrener says it is ideally suited for racing bikes in the 20 – 24 inch tire range.

Down the road, Warrener plans to start a team and put on a 10-week race series this summer, then continue with seasonal races. Long term, he would like to get the track certified with the American Bicycle Association and USA BMX. Certified tracks are eligible to host state races; Warrener estimates a state race could draw upwards of 300 competitors for a single weekend, not to mention spectators.

What's next?

Before the park becomes a reality, the proposal must be assessed and presented for a public hearing and appeal period. Warrener hopes the residents of Railroad Avenue will consider the park an unobtrusive presence, a fun and safe activity for local youth and a potential tourist draw. The park will be closed to motorized vehicles and will be open for daytime use only. Additionally, because the track will be made entirely of dirt, it will be relatively easy to dismantle if the city decides to sell or develop the property at a later time.

Once the conditional use process is past, park construction will depend on the weather. If all goes well, Warrener hopes to begin work on the track in late April. The city is slated to remove surplus concrete left over from the West Columbus project, and will truck in about 3,000 cubic yards of dirt. The park will be built and maintained entirely by volunteers, mainly members of the Mid-Columbia Public Safety Activities League. Roughly 15 – 20 volunteers have already pledged their support, but Warrener says extra hands are always welcome.

"We're looking for any sort of volunteers." Warrener has already enlisted the help of three people with excavators, and says most of the remaining volunteer need is for work done by hand. Aside from the purely utilitarian goal of building the park, he hopes to build community involvement and sweat equity.

"We want sense of ownership and investment," Warrener says. "We don't want it to end up like the skateboard park. We want everyone to feel that this is your track."

For any inquiries, contact Warrener at (360) 773-7712 or warrenerbrock@gmail.com.

 

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