That’s the question facing the City Council, which will be meeting Tuesday night, Nov. 7, to discuss the cost of a dedicated facility, what type of park to build and potential sites.
The council is taking up the matter after members of the BMX community lobbied their elected officials, an effort that included a face-to-face meeting last year with Councilman Randon Lane. Right now, the only legal place for enthusiasts to ride is the skate park at the California Oaks Sports Park, which is opened for BMX use for three hours on Tuesday nights.
Should Murrieta build a BMX park?
— TVD_Claverie (@TVD_Claverie) November 7, 2017
According to a staff report by Brian Ambrose, assistant to the City Manager, 10 to 20 bikers show up on a semi-regular basis during the three-hour window, which was created following the meeting with Lane. At times, there are no riders, he noted.
There also is an unofficial track at the Calle Del Oso Oro Airport site that features trails and jumps but that dirt course, which is on city-owned land, isn’t served by a parking lot or any other type of infrastructure.
The council will be considering four different types of park: dirt track, modular, pump and skate/BMX hybrid. The most popular of the four choices among riders is the pump track, which allows riders to cruise around without pedaling.
“The advantage of this type of track is the amount of engineering involved to design and construct, allowing a rider to enjoy the entire experience. The disadvantage is the overall cost of construction. Additionally, the surface must be sealed or regularly fixed due to the harsh nature of usage,” Ambrose wrote.
Potential locations for park, if the council decides to move forward, are the Los Alamos Sports Park, Copper Canyon Park and the airport site.
The second phase of the Los Alamos park calls for a BMX track but there are seven homes located directly above the area that would likely be impacted by noise. Before moving ahead with that site, staff is recommending holding a public meeting with those homeowners to address potential concerns.
The cost of a park ranges from $500,000 to $2 million and there is no money set aside for construction. At the end of Tuesday’s discussion, the council could decide to add an item in the city’s Capital Improvement Project, which would allow staff to start saving money — including development impact fees and grants — for the park.
If there is strong support for the idea, the park could be built in a couple of years. If not, the city could continue studying the matter while allowing riders to use the skate park.