BMX park starting to get wheels

Sean C. Morgan

James Goble says he is ready to move forward with plans to repair and improve the BMX track located at Upper Sankey Park and is awaiting Parks Board approval to get going.

He presented a formal proposal at a Parks Board meeting on Thursday. Nov. 7. No members of the Parks Board were present though, so city staff members at the meeting said they would get the information to the members.

Early this year, Goble said he went to the park in hopes of planning a summer BMX event for community youths.

“While walking around this track, I noticed it was in bad shape, to say the least,” Goble said. “There were holes dug in some of the jumps, rocks protruding in the riding path and jumps worn so far down from years of overuse. I then decided that before I bring a BMX event idea to the city, we would first need to update the track area.”

He talked to then-Community Development Director Carol Lewis prior to her retirement and learned there were no plans to repair the track, Goble said. He asked if he could, and the answer was yes. He spent the following weeks contacting the American Bike Association, researching specifications for different kinds of jumps, locating resources for dirt and visiting multiple BMX tracks similar to the one at Sankey Park. City staff asked him to provide plans and details for the first phase of the project.

Goble plans to include jumps for younger beginners around the edge of the track with opportunities for more advanced jumps for more experienced riders. The interior of the track would include freestyle jumps for the most advanced riders.

Once the park has been brought back to a level that provides safe and fun recreation, Goble said, his next goal is to have the city fund and maintain the track at an acceptable standard.

He had hoped to get the project going this year, but the weather will force him next summer before he can proceed, he said.

Knife River has agreed to donate dirt, Goble said, and donations for the project may be given to the city.

At Thursday’s meeting, city staff also met with consultants working on a Parks Master Plan update. Public Works Director Mike J. Adams said it was something that could be included in the Master Plan, which will later go to council for adoption.

Goble will need some help from Public Works, including labor and equipment, he said.

Eventually, there will be a request for city participation, Adams said. “I don’t know that anybody’s going to have anything negative to say about any of that.”

But it’s not something where he can allocate already limited resources without some kind of acknowledgment or approval, Adams said. He also will need more details about how much and how long the city will need to be involved, whether it will be two hours or two weeks.

“I can make sure to get these copies in front of the Parks Board themselves and say it’s a request from an interested citizen,” Adams said, and he can make sure it is included in the Master Plan.

Over the next couple of weeks, Adams said he would meet with Goble and discuss what to do next.