April 12, 2009 in Idaho Voices

BMX buildup

Group plans track for Post Falls, but search continues for suitable site
By The Spokesman-Review
 
Kathy Plonka photo

Five-year-old Mason Crabtree, of Coeur d’Alene, watches as Ashton Palmer, 17, makes his way around the BMX track at Cherry Hill Park on April 6.
(Full-size photo)

The sport of BMX, or Bicycle Motocross, debuted last year as the newest Olympic sport at the 2008 games in Beijing. The sport began in California in the 1970s, when kids modified their 20-inch Stingray bicycles and started racing, emulating their motorcycle motocross heroes. Now it’s everywhere.

Before long BMX included tricks and catching air. Now, a group of BMX enthusiasts want to build a course in Post Falls, but the question is where?

Trevor Reynolds, board member of the North Idaho BMX Association, said the group has designed a course and will offer training for riders. He said the group is not looking to the city of Post Falls for financial support, just a place to build.

The Post Falls Parks and Recreation Department’s master plan includes a BMX park, but the proposed location on Seltice Way near the wastewater treatment plant doesn’t sit well with the Post Falls City Council, with the exception of Councilman Skip Hissong.

Now, the search is on for a suitable location.

“The visibility is good, and the ground is level,” Hissong said of the Seltice location. “The alfalfa field works for parking in inclement weather – it’s not muddy.”

Reynolds said the location needs to be close-in so kids can ride their bikes to the track after school. The BMX Association prefers city land because private property owners can pull the rug out from under them should they decide to sell or use the property for another purpose.

Post Falls police Chief Cliff Hayes questioned safety of the location on Seltice. The speed limit is 45 mph on this particular stretch of the road, across from Kimball Office, and there is no crosswalk. Terry Werner, the director of public works for the city, said he’s not against a BMX park but agreed it needs to be in a different location.

The task of finding a suitable location is now upon Post Falls Parks and Recreation. Director David Fair said the search is under way, but a new location has yet to be identified.

Reynolds said BMX is appealing to 4-year-olds to 60-year old “kids.” With an average track at 1,200 feet, it’s a quiet sport since it’s nonmotorized, with little dust. The American Bicycle Association is the sanctioning body, which offers $5 million liability insurance to local tracks.

North Idaho BMX has a source for 3,000 yards of dirt as well as a loader, dump truck and a skid steer tractor. One-quarter acre is needed for a track.

Correspondent Linda Ball can reached by e-mail at rckwriter@roadrunner.com


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