Planner has big ideas for Sankey BMX course

Sean C. Morgan

Newly appointed Planning Commissioner James Goble wants to fix the BMX track at Upper Sankey Park.

The vegetation is tall across the course, the street lights are burned out and jumps about useless to BMX riders, he said. He’s talked to city officials about getting the lights replaced, and he’s sketched out a proposal to improve the course. Long-term he would like to expand the track across more of Upper Sankey.

The track was constructed about a decade ago.

“I was trying to think of summer things for the kids to do,” Goble said, noting that Sweet Home doesn’t offer much for children to do during the summer. “This is what keeps kids outside, stuff like this instead of at home on the couch during summer break.”

He dropped by the BMX track a couple of weeks ago, and in just a couple of hours, he saw about 15 youths ride into the park, complete a loop around the track and leave.

They tell him that’s all the track is good for any more, he said. “They say it’s garbage. You can’t do half the jumps.”

He’s been talking to about a half dozen youths at the track about improving the course, filling it in and creating bigger jumps, and they’re ecstatic about fixing the track, and they’re ready for the changes now. He wants to raise “the big jump” two feet, flatten it out and make it more standard.

“I see an already-formed half-pipe right here in the center,” Goble said. “We just have to fill it in, complete the jumps.”

He wants to see the BMX track turn into a summer community project for friends and neighbors across the city, Goble said.

“To be honest, I want to start making something happen now,” Goble said, but there are still steps he must take first.

City Planning Assistant Julie Fisher said the proposal will go to the city Parks Board during its regular meeting at 10 a.m. on July 22 at City Hall, 1140 12th Ave.

In the meantime, Goble is trying to drum up support, including volunteers and donations to get the work done. He also bought a BMX bike and took it out Thursday to meet with Austin Tyree, 16, to try to understand what he’s hearing from bike riders.

“A bunch of kids down here are asking what you’re going to do,” Tyree told Goble Thursday afternoon.

Tyree wants to see the course a little more ridable for younger kids, he said, and “make it so we don’t have to leave town to have fun on our bikes.”

Right now, the closest, best park is in Lebanon, Tyree said. He spent a lot of time there last summer.

For more information contact Goble at [email protected].