ESCONDIDO — The City Council is ramping up its efforts to inject more activities for the city’s youth.
Last week, the council took a report from City Manager Graham Mitchell and Public Works Analyst Jeff Wyner on the possibility of building a BMX bicycle park in the city.
Mitchell said the report was based on follow-up from the City Council Action Plan, which directed staff to research various projects for youths.
The council will host its next CCAP Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. at the Mitchell Room at City Hall.
Mitchell, meanwhile, said staff visited numerous BMX tracks in San Diego and Riverside counties, including the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista.
Mitchell said the training center gave staff an idea of what sort of BMX to construct. He said several other facilities incorporate a main track and a “pump track,” which acts as a warm-up for events and allows for other riders to hone their skills should a competition be held there.
Staff was approved for a request for proposal, which gives them the authority to begin discussions with private operators to assess the size and scope of the project.
The city will not pay for the track, but instead intends to work with a private entity that would cover construction costs and operations, although several city councilors said they prefer an “open” track so anyone can enjoy the facility, as opposed to a sort of membership.
“We will identify an operator the city wants to work with,” Mitchell said, “that has the best interest of the community at heart.”
Councilman John Masson, who stumped for the creation of skate spots and parks earlier this year, also championed the project, noting, in addition to his skateboarding days as a youth, he also participated in BMX.
He said the BMX project, like the skate parks, gives Escondido’s youth another outlet and a safe area to enjoy their passion.
“BMX in Escondido would be a great thing,” Masson said. “I am as excited about this as I am about skateboarding, because I used to BMX.”
Another staunch supporter, Councilman Mike Morasco, said the facility could capitalize on the city and county’s large BMX population. They noted San Diego resident Alise Post, who won silver in the BMX women’s division, during the 2016 Olympic Games.
Morasco’s vision, though, is to land state, regional and national competitions by working with an operator with experience and building a state-of-the-art facility.
“We also want to have competitions like baseball and softball,” he added.
Wyner, meanwhile, said city staff is researching numerous aspects for developing a track. If constructed, it would be the first BMX track in North County.
Wyner said park sites include Kit Carson, Jasmine Dene and Mountain View, although more study must be conducted before a finalist is chosen.
He said the obstacles include available land and how much land would be needed. Wyner said the ideal park is 3 acres, and that getting down to 1 acre is “really tight.”
In addition, location, sufficient parking, restrooms, stands, soil, length of the track, shape, surface, utilities, fencing and other amenities must be prioritized.