The local BMX track will recieve some needed improvements. Photo by Kirsten Laskey/ladailypost.com
By KIRSTEN LASKEY
Los Alamos Daily Post
Currently, the local BMX track features a closed sign citing safety concerns but not for long. Its circumstances are quickly changing as the result of Los Alamos County approving $100,000 for the project during its Nov. 12 meeting.
With this approval, the hopes are high that next summer, the BMX track will be back in business and hosting U.S. BMX-sanctioned events.
Parks and Recreation Manager Dan Erickson reported during the Parks and Recreation Board meeting Nov. 14 that a representative of the U.S. BMX expressed an interest that Los Alamos inaugurate its improved track with a BMX racing league event and the representative hopes to have a June open house.
“So that’s pretty exciting,” Erickson said. “I think we are going to have some traction on this project pretty quickly.”
Los Alamos’ track is located on North Mesa near the stables; the funds will go towards several improvements including installing a starting gate and providing electric power as well as water hydrants to help maintain the track. Fill material also will be needed to improve the track.
While it was the Parks and Recreation Board that presented the recommendation to Council to approve the project; a group of citizens lead by Los Alamos resident Dan Deschamp are the ones really responsible for the project’s success.
According to agenda documents, Deschamp led a group of volunteers to renovate the BMX track in May but was stopped by County staff as a result of safety and liability concerns.
Afterwards, according to the staff report, County staff met with the volunteer to work on possible solutions.
During the Nov. 12 meeting, Councilor Antonio Maggiore commended the citizens who ushered the project into fruition.
“I’ve been supportive of this project for a long time … I think this is a case of people in the community wanting to improve this community,” he said. “And they set out to do so and they were confronted time and again with obstacles … at no point did they throw up their hands in disgust … they doubled down, they reached out … they have stepped up in an attempt to improve the quality of this community for our youth and also draw people to this community.”
In the report it was pointed out that BMX racing is one of the fastest growing family-friendly sports in the world. Plus, the reconstruction of the existing BMX facility would not only give Los Alamos families a place to practice and race but it would open the possibility of hosting USA BMX racing events in Los Alamos. Furthermore, this would be the only USA BMX track in northern New Mexico
Parks and Recreation Board Chair Stephanie Nakhleh emphasized the importance of the BMX track to the Los Alamos Daily Post.
“I hike past the BMX track most days, as I live nearby, and I’ve watched with dismay as the track has sunk deeper into disrepair,” she said. “It’s all weeds and ruts …This is a County asset, and as such the County has a responsibility to maintain safety. I’m delighted the County has agreed to fully fund the improvements, with the assistance of Bomb Town BMX and USABMX. Although I don’t know much about BMX myself … I understand this sport is growing nationwide. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has marked it as a priority for the state. I’m so excited that Los Alamos is invested in being part of this; our kids deserve it.”