Archive for Wednesday, February 17, 2010

BMX fans hope city of Lawrence will provide park land for bicycle track

BMX aficionados are looking for support to build a new BMX bicycle track on Lawrence park land.

February 17, 2010


A big old pile of dirt and a bicycle still can bring out the kid in anyone.

Just ask David Ross. The Lawrence carpenter has a feeling that Lawrence could become a town of nac-nac’s, can-can’s and other cool sounding BMX tricks — if the city just had a track.

“I’m 32 years old and I want to start racing again,” Ross said. “It is just a great connection with childhood.”

Ross and a group of about 15 other BMX aficionados are working to form a new not-for-profit corporation in hopes of winning support to build a new BMX bicycle track — for both adults and youth — on Lawrence park land.

“What we’re trying to do is promote healthy lifestyles through bicycling,” said Ross. “BMX is really catching back on. It was big in the ’70s and ’80s and then it went through a lull, but it has caught back on fire again.”

Ross and the new group — the Lawrence Area Recreation Riders Initiative — hopes to convince city leaders to allow the group to build a $50,000 to $100,000 track on vacant city park land — perhaps near the YSI complex in southwest Lawrence or near Eagle Bend Golf Course below Clinton Lake Dam. The group’s proposal would involve the city providing the land but the group would provide all funding, including annual fundraisers to help pay the city for basic maintenance.

The idea still has multiple layers of approval it must win at City Hall. But interim Parks and Recreation Director Ernie Shaw said he’s willing to consider the proposal, as long as the group understands the city doesn’t have funding for it.

Brian Shay, a member of the BMX group who owns Lawrence Re-Cyclery, a downtown bicycle shop, said other communities have made similar ideas work. A private organization operates a BMX track on park land in Topeka, and similar arrangements exist in Raytown and Blue Springs in Missouri.

“I think we could get quite a few people to come out,” Shay said. “People in Lawrence are all about the environment and outdoor activity, and this would fit right in.”


Kontum1972 8 years, 3 months ago

so how does this happen since the city budget has been a deep topic of discussion?

Steve Miller 8 years, 3 months ago

If it so great, the city should at least charge a small yearly rental fee. That would go over better than just giving away a freebee.

guesswho 8 years, 3 months ago

This could be really cool - no cost to the city - Lawrence is getting a reputation for having great bicycle road races - let's expand it to BMX! We may be able to hold regional competitions, and bike shops could expand their inventory and repair shops!

ksarmychick 8 years, 3 months ago

I'd like somewhere to ride my dirtbike and ATV...can the city build me something too?

puddleglum 8 years, 3 months ago

I want a dragstrip....that would be way cooler and more responsible.

orbiter 8 years, 3 months ago

"I'd like somewhere to ride my dirtbike and ATV...can the city build me something too? " ksarmychick

ksarmychick - reading is fun! you should try some time. but I'm sure your jerking knee makes this hard.

SEE: "The group’s proposal would involve the city providing the land but the group would provide all funding, including annual fundraisers to help pay the city for basic maintenance. "

pizzapete 8 years, 3 months ago

That sounds like a great idea. Give the kids some dirt and a place to ride.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 3 months ago

Go for it. Take it to east lawrence rec center... where there are bathrooms and water.

cowboy 8 years, 3 months ago

I'd like to ride my horse from south of town up to Johnny's and get hammered and ride home , will the city build me a hammered lane ?

d_prowess 8 years, 3 months ago

I have yet to see any real negative from this proposition. Lawrence has land set aside for parks but no money to create/develop them or maintain them. So along comes a group that is willing to cover all of that (including future upkeep!) and people don't like it? Why? What is the downside?

ksarmychick 8 years, 3 months ago

The downside will be when someone gets hurt and the parents/individual are sue happy and the city gets sued. Just like the outdoor pool got sued when a kid got hurt there, and the city lost.

d_prowess 8 years, 3 months ago

Are you sure the city would be on the hook for such a lawsuit considering the park would essentially be under the operation of this group?

Eugehne Normandin 8 years, 3 months ago

How about a bmx track that kids from east lawrence and north lawrence could ride to instead of all the way across town I think it is a great idea if it were centrally located.The city has softball,basketball and soccer etc. in central locations.Also the sue happy parents can let their kids play Wii bmx.

pizzapete 8 years, 3 months ago

I think this would be a great use of public property. Purchasing land and bringing in all the improvements is too expensive. Lawrence has existing parks with bathrooms, parking, etc already in place. All these guys need is some dirt and shovels and an a place to put it. I think a centrally located track would be ideal, any suggestions as to where? I think the east lawrence recreation space might be too small for this.

5thgeneration 8 years, 3 months ago

The proposal is to use city park land to build an ABA (American Bicycle Association) sanctioned track, where races could be held. A private track is just that......... private. A public track can be used by the public during regular park hours. A special event permit would be obtained from the city for the sanctioned races, and then covered by ABA insurance during the event. BMX is an Olympic sport, and a great recreational activity for kids 4 to 55 years young.

lllwll 8 years, 3 months ago

David is 32 yrs old and wants to race again.

Grow up David

Dirtman24 8 years, 3 months ago

I think this would be a very AWESOME idea. In fact I know THIS would be a great idea for Lawrence as this sport has grown big time.

My real name is Kevin Garrard and I started racing BMX back in 1986 after my mom passed away from cancer when I was put in a group home in Topeka and raced at the BMX track on Shunga Drive in west Topeka from age 13-18 in my stay at the group home. I have a few national championships held at tracks surrounding Kansas. I lost all my plaques, ribbons and trophies from the BoardWalk Apartment Fire back in Oct. 2005 and still searching for pictures to post on my personal website.

As a very BIG supporter of BMX Racing I also became Track Champion back in 1988 in Oklahoma City Oklahoma at the 1988 BMX Grand Nationals. I would also be of interest to help in anyway I possibly can teaching kids as well and helping at the facility as I know first hand what it takes to prepare yourself for racing.

I am serious about helping out and if you need to contact me to meet you post here a way to contact you...

I have been in contact with ABA- American Bicycle Association about a way to open a track here for the last year and to bring folks from all over to race here in LAWRENCE on weekly events to BIG events. This would be a great addition to Lawrence ranged from kids to adults as it was when I started in 1986. Again great I mean AWESOME idea....

5thgeneration 8 years, 3 months ago

Dirtman24............. you have a private message in your inbox

Zachary Stoltenberg 8 years, 3 months ago

Well I hate to burst your bubble, but the liability incurred by the city will be the death-nail in this project. It would roughly be equivalent to the city erecting a climbing wall in south park or a bungee jump from the water tower. I don't disagree with a track at all, in fact from the comments it looks like it would be received quite well, but this needs to be a private venture. The city has no business giving away assets in the middle of a budget crisis. I know the group wants to put up the money to build it, but what happens when they are done with it, what happens when they no longer want to maintain it? What happens when one of them moves away or, God for bid, grows up? The city is then stuck with taking over a project they had no business letting happen in the first place. Good luck getting it started but don't expect a handout from the taxpayer.

5thgeneration 8 years, 3 months ago

What's the difference in liability between this and the skate park?

5thgeneration 8 years, 3 months ago

".............. or God forbid, grows up?" Nice. I think that my 3 kids will laugh pretty hard at that one. They're trying to tell me that I'm "old" almost daily.

Emily Hadley 8 years, 3 months ago

This sounds awesome. The trails are great, but another option for local kids (under and over 30) would be a valuable addition to the recreational areas we have in Lawrence.

bd 8 years, 3 months ago

dirtbike/atv track?????? I remember the mud creek riding area north east of town that was almost leased to an ATV club years ago, came one vote away from being approved! Now it is a bicycle trail.

seriouscat 8 years, 3 months ago

Great idea! Where can I sign up to help?

rousseau108 8 years, 3 months ago

Didn't they build a BMX dirt track at the East Lawrence Center a few years ago? Not sure if it is still there.

5thgeneration 8 years, 3 months ago

The site is still under construction, and I hope to have it ironed out by this weekend.

crissyb13 8 years, 3 months ago

Do something with the empty lot that used to be the sale barn.

5thgeneration 8 years, 3 months ago

The plan is to have no motorized vehicles at all on the track, except during construction and rehab phases. Parks and Rec was worried about a central location generating complaints from adjacent land owners, which is a valid concern. Even if it was at Clinton, it's a lot closer than the existing tracks.

thedawg28 8 years, 3 months ago

I have no ties to Lawrence but I do come there and ride my mountain bike at Clinton Lake and Lawrence River Trails. This is response to the the post above telling the man to "grow up". I race my bike most every weekend during the spring, summer, and fall.....Im 39 yrs old and in the best shape of my life and have lost over 60 lbs since getting back into cycling. Lawrence is a very cycling friendly city and this would only add to instead of these "kids" sitting at home playing XBOX 360 getting fat give them a place to have fun. As far as the liability goes...I race under USACycling sanction.....we have to sign a release waiver before we can race and I'd waiger to say that the ABA is the same. To my knowledge no one has sued and won after signing the form. Good luck to all involved....hope this works out for you.

4boysmom 8 years, 3 months ago

Give these kids a place to enjoy.
Post signs saying: the city is not responsible for injuries recommend protective gear be worn at all times and anything else that pertains.

This would be a great place for any teens who need to do community service to work (pick-up trash and what-not).
The community I live in does not offer a hell of a lot for kids to do. We have a BMX track that is full of thorns, a skatepark that is a joke, a movie theatre that is way over priced and not much else. Keep the kids busy, they generally stay out of trouble.
Also, there may be companies out there that would donate to the cause. Put a 6' chain link fence around the perimeter, then signs could be hung with company name as a donor/sponsor.

jonas_opines 8 years, 3 months ago

Zomg! Gubmint! Evil! blargetyblarbityblurba!

Boston_Corbett 8 years, 3 months ago

First take the locomotive out of its chain-link prison.

Dirtman24 8 years, 3 months ago

thedawg28-- you are absolutely right and I agree with your post. When I started there was kids age 4 up to adults age 50+ racing. Its not the fact of the age groups its the fact to provide kids and adults who love racing a chance to build there goal or goals to become better and competitive among kids and or friends of their age group.

I seen kids younger than me become motocross racers and make a name for themselves and onto other racing venue's. I was given a chance at age 13 as stated above to become someone also and that I did, but my pride and joy was stolen and kinda put a halt on my career as the bicycle I had cost almost $1000 bought by my grandpa and I was able to take the back half of my bike off and make into a cruiser so I could run 2 classes.

There is NO motor period as stated by db as dirt bikes/ atv's, infact I have heard and seen kids age 8-15 get killed on dirt bikes and or atv's or even paralized, this is a bicycle you PEDAL and allot safer and sure there are accidents it happens, but no one gets killed here. Its to make kids enjoy the outdoors more and do something with there lives for the better instead of letting them get into trouble or sit in front of a tv and play a video game. To be honest there are cash rewards and even vehicles being won and have so since I started racing BMX back in 1986 and I even seen a Pro Gary Ellis win a car and $800 at a national event. So yea honestly its rewarding if your committed to working for it like any other sport.

As folks can see there are achievements like every other sport and you have to work hard to get it. This would bring allot to Lawrence as I know first hand the amount of folks who attend these events and its in the hundreds, but if you do a big event like a National Event your talking about thousands attending a National Event!!!

What is ABA?: American Bicycle Association What is BMX?: Bicycle Motocross

This sport is growing pretty fast and has been with young kids and I truly honestly believe Lawrence would benefit from it and the kids of this great community.

William McCauley 8 years, 3 months ago

The best place to put such a track is in the same area as the skate park for a number of reasons.

  1. Lot's of room there to build it
  2. It sits in a valley and would contain noise (same as the skateboards noise now)
  3. Central location with easy access.
  4. Lot's of hotel rooms with in walking distance to park
  5. Kids already ride BMX bikes on the street course and the ramp at the skate park, so many of those same ones would compete, or would like to see street and vert contests along side track races.
  6. Multi event contests could be held to include the skateboarders along with the BMXer's this would help bring in more visitors to town and hotels in the area. In fact those hotel owners would be more then happy to see their rooms all booked for a race a block away.

There are just a few good reasons why the skate park area would be best suited for this.

BUT good luck dealing with those ___ down at city hall to allow it.

bd 8 years, 3 months ago

Dirtman 24
"There is NO motor period as stated by db as dirt bikes/ atv's, infact I have heard and seen kids age 8-15 get killed on dirt bikes and or atv's or even paralized, this is a bicycle you PEDAL and allot safer and sure there are accidents it happens, but no one gets killed here."

I think you need to do a search for BMX deaths , they happen all of the time!

lasherpa 8 years, 3 months ago

While I don't know the exposure of liablility for the city in this certain instance...I can say that these BMX tracks would give 100's of kids a place to hang out and get exercise. Certainly there is a way for it to work on both sides...these parks are popping up all over the U.S.

I travel quite a bit down South and these parks are huge down there...I saw park in Dallas that must have had 600 kids there on a Saturday. The only place you can find a mass of kids on a Saturday in Lawrence is the movie theatre. For Lawrence being such a progressive and hip city...we sure don't look out for our children's health very well. There is very little productive things for 6-16 yr olds to do in this city.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 3 months ago

Of course there will be injuries. The city will definitely relieve itself of any responsibility.

Park space is okay. It's been done before. If the activity generates significant tourism dollars the city will likely take a bit more interest.

The skateboard park would not be a good idea. Why? It's already the Frisbee golf course. Leave that fun jewell alone.

Broken Arrow Park has track space and parking space. There is space behind the stone shelter. Broken Arrow has picnic space,bathrooms and water. Great set up. It would create less space for the park department to mow.

Broken Arrow Park is close to emergency services if necessary.

doc1 8 years, 3 months ago

I know how to make the city agree to do this. Tell them that it will cost an insane amount of money and that nobody will use it except homeless people who get to use it free. It worked out great for the T.

Melissa Sigler 8 years, 3 months ago

great idea...I'd rather see spending and land use go to exercise, way to go.

lawrenceRezident 8 years, 3 months ago

If they condemn the house out on 1500 Rd. that was raided maybe it could be built out there!

d_prowess 8 years, 3 months ago

Why not have the city lease out the park space to this group for like $1 a year. Wouldn't that then shift any liability to the group instead of the city?

William McCauley 8 years, 3 months ago


So just how many skateboard and BMX event's have you 1. put on 2, been too? & how many skateboard/bike riding areas have you built? I bet not ONE.

1, not only is there enough room next to the skate park to build,. but 2. it would not hurt the frisby golf course. 3. bathrooms, shelters with grills, play grounds for little siblings not riding, food in walking distance, shopping the merc (things for moms to do, again in walking distance from the track area & hotels), way better parking, natural viewing area for spectators, way better traffic access in and out of the area, many out town guest would leave their cars in the hotel parking lots seeing how there about 8 with in a block or less. 4. It could include the freestyle BMXer's and skaterborders, it could involve the BMXer's who ride half pipe, most of those guys & gals also ride freestyle and street events, and guess what, so do the skateboarders all cross ride.

Ever hear of the YMCA Skateboard camps? (big business) Ever hear of the X games? (big business) Ya know that big event on ESPN that has all these types of events I'm talking about, guess what there in hosted in one central location for those very reasons I stated above.

What is you big hard on for broken arrow, that location sucks on so many levels!

Richard Heckler 8 years, 3 months ago

There is far more parking available at Broken Arrow for event participants and spectators.

"Concessions" are definitlely not available close to Broken Arrow.

I support BMX and Skateboard events. BMX and skateboard acrobats could be equated to snowboarding on wheels.

Yes BMX people were using Eastside Rec center property not that long ago.

No reason NOT to make use of taxpayer owned property for exciting events. This would be good use of existing resources.

The ultimate decision is between promoters and the city. Go for it.

5thgeneration 8 years, 3 months ago

We too had discussed many of the locations that have been mentioned above. We were presented with a few possible options by The Parks and Rec. Dept.. Due to parking, potential neighborhood complaints, etc., we decided that those places would be our best options at this time. As we get further in to this process, more info. will be made available, like site plans, etc.. There will be public meetings held for input from the community. This proposed track will be of a much larger scale than the dirt jump track behind the East Lawrence Rec. Center. Try to envision 1,000 to 1,500 feet of track winding back and forth against it's self, with some areas as wide as 25 feet. That is what we're having to plan for. You need room for 8 riders to safely negotiate turns/obstacles, at speed, in the safest manner possible. These tracks are a dirt surface too. I can't think of too many neighborhood associations that would be comfortable with it inside their boundaries.

SwissAm 8 years, 3 months ago

YES, they should build one, but a proper one like what Red Bull did in England "The Empire of DIrt"

I would come and visit Lawrence more often (which would please my family) and Lawrence needs something other than bars to increase the quality of living. When you raise the quality of living standard businesses take notice and often relocate to places that have higher standards thus bringing more jobs to Lawrence. Its a win win situation. And Lawrence should build and support more healthy recreational activities. Like more single tracks for mountain biking.

SwissAm 8 years, 3 months ago

Okay maybe the redbull course is a bit extreme for Lawrence. The trend here in Europe is 4X which is like BMX but with more air time and suspension forks on the bikes.

We have a few gravity assisted ones here in Switzerland and I love to bomb down them on my 8 inch downhill bike but I don't race. I prefer free riding and downhill courses mostly but I also do XC to stay in shape. My favorite place is Portes du Soleil a bike mecca that has 8 resorts, 27 chairlifts all interconnected. (sigh) waiting for the snow to melt...........tired of snowboarding

This is how I bike

xjsman89 8 years, 3 months ago

I like the idea. I've wanted a good place to ride since I moved up to Lawrence; it would be great if this was approved.

Dirtman24 8 years, 1 month ago

Ok folks, to show people how serious we are in trying to get an ABA Sanctioned BMX Tack in Lawrence, we like the public to come view our website. There are pictures and also NEW pictures of our scaled model in progress of a bmx track. Also on the front page there is a video called "Getting Into BMX Racing".. This video is exactly what we are facing and doing everything in our powers to make it happen with all your supports. Thanks for your time in reading and support....

Please visit:

Dirtman24 7 years, 11 months ago

As an ex member of this group and how I was mistreated of my medical conditions, which they claim they are out to help folks and with proof of emails, pm's and screen shots of the attacks on my they are not, seriously not nice to discriminate and harass someone over ones medical condition one has NO control over.

They are not representing themselves of claiming to help folks and just because of who I am and discriminating me and harassing me of 3 members which proof will be presented to show folks this group is not the right choice for this track. I think its fair to show the public my proof this group is not allowed to build a track in this city. On St. Paddy's day parade they ALLOWED kids not to wear helmets as I was truck driver and people yelling where are the helmets, also to take kids into a bar while adults drink and some kids not even theirs which is a big NO NO.... Be careful as I learned first hand its ALL ABOUT LARRI and what they want and no one else like they was asked to have kids wear helmets and didn't and 1 kid wrecked on the bridge from getting his tire caught in the drain vent with NO helmet on.

Not a good group to run a track because I seen this first hand and glad I am not part of this group which allows kids today on bike rides with NO HELMETS... Not a good way to represent the community for a track when kids safety is at risk.......

Dirtman24 7 years, 11 months ago

Also there is a illegal track built off 11th and haskell along the railroad tracks and the only way to get to the track is along the rail road tracks which also is a safety issue as you got to walk the tracks to get to the track. This is a safety issue as kids walk the tracks to get to this track and the train runs along the entrance to this illegal track.

Another illegal track building is off of 2nd and Indiana by Bercham Park. The city has bulldozed it down and they rebuild it.

This is kids safety and needs to be stopped before a kid gets run over by a train... Speaking only as they are out to help folks which they claim and in the end put kids safety at risk. I would think twice about group and what they falsely claim they are out for.... If I was the City I would reject everything this group tries as the video from the St. Paddy's Parade will show allot of kids and adults WITHOUT proper safety gear and proof to my complaint publicly NOT to support this group to build a track here in Lawrence which its NOT HEALTHY!!!!

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