Gilroy, CA BMX Parks Delayed

Gilroy, CA has produced a number of famous pro BMX riders, including X-games champions Chad Kagy, Joey Garcia and Ryan Nyquist. Despite this, the city still does not offer dedicated public facilities for BMX.

From The Gilroy Dispatch:

Gilroy - Move over skaters.

Freestyle BMX bicyclists will get their fair share of hang-time at Gilroy’s lone skate park in coming months, as city leaders planning two permanent bike facilities look for short-term ways to accommodate bike-riding teens.

The six-month trial at the concrete skate facility in Las Animas Veterans Park is expected to begin in March and to last through early September, according to Community Services Director Susan Andrade. She said the city is looking at how neighboring cities schedule times to come up with a formula for Gilroy.

“Some cities have not only separated by bicyclists and skaters but by age, separating out times for juniors,” she said. “Once we figure that out, it’s just a matter of getting the signs made and opening it up.”

Instead of mixing BMXers and skateboarders in the same sessions, officials plan to block out separate times when each can have their run of the place.

The bike park already draws a stream of BMXers who ride with an eye out for police.

Kyle O’Mara, 16, welcomed the idea of splitting time with skateboarders, though he worried if the times would match his schedule.

“It’s a good idea, but when I wake up in the morning I want to be able to bike, instead of having to wait until three in the afternoon,” he said.

As for the skaters who will be losing their monopoly on the park?

“I think some of them will be upset,” O’Mara said,” but a lot of them are pretty nice.”

The expanded use of the skate park is intended as temporary fix while city leaders plan not one, but two permanent bike facilities. This week, Parks and Recreation Commissioners scratched off a number of potential sites from their list of possibilities for a concrete bike facility and dirt bike track, including one obvious no go.

“We didn’t feel it would be a very good idea to locate a bike park next to a police shooting range,” said consultant Lee Steinmetz, referring to one site near the city’s wastewater treatment plant.

Instead, commissioners agreed to zero in on the city’s sports complex, now under construction south of Luchessa Avenue, or a site near Solorsano Middle School for a future dirt facility. They also supported the idea of building a concrete bike park next to the skate facility in the northwest corner of Las Animas Veterans Park. While officials have zeroed in on several sites, it remains unlikely either facility will be built within the next few years. In addition to continued planning and design, both projects will have to be placed in the cue for city funds under the Capital Improvement Budget.

Chad Kagy, a 27-year-old Gilroy native and pro-BMX rider, applauded the city’s efforts to build two parks dedicated to bike riders.

“I think they’re great locations,” he said. “And it gives (kids) a place to go besides out on the streets and at businesses.”

He also called temporary plans to share the skate park a long overdue change.

“We always went out there anyway,” Kagy said, “but opening it up allows us to avoid a $270 fine and a confiscated bike.”

Discussions started with the city in 2005, but unfortunately the park has been delayed time and time again. The money that was

Check out City of Gilroy meeting minutes here.

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About Sam Pederson

BMX Riders Organization Regional Director, California

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