Work on BMX site could begin this year

Mesa County officials are making progress on designs to build a ramped-up BMX venue at the county fairgrounds.

County commissioners, who discussed the facility with county staff last week, plan to approve a Great Outdoors Colorado grant application Feb. 24 to request $350,000 for the project. The grant application is due March 5.

At the same meeting, commissioners are expected to approve a resolution expressing their support for the project. The resolution will give county personnel permission to rearrange capital improvement fund dollars to spend up to $2.4 million on the BMX project over the next couple years.

A road running alongside the venue west of the fairgrounds entrance and north of the fairgrounds parking lot is expected to be built this year using money that had been budgeted for a project on K Road, which will be finished in 2015 using fairgrounds funds instead if the BMX project moves forward. The BMX track and venue, plus infrastructure such as sewer, electrical and water lines, are expected to be constructed in 2015 using fairgrounds capital improvement funds.

Road and entrance construction will cost an estimated $1.069 million, while the BMX venue and infrastructure will cost $1.33 million. Those amounts may be paid mostly by county CIP funds, but there is a possibility the Great Outdoors Colorado grant and a Daniels Fund grant will provide up to $650,000 total for the project, if the grants are approved. The county also is hoping for $7,000 in matching grant dollars from the city of Fruita, the town of Palisade and Colorado Mesa University.

Another $606,330 will be needed to construct the BMX track, which Grand Valley BMX and USA BMX have offered to provide. The dirt track will include a 26-foot-high Olympic Hill, asphalt corners, electronic and digital starting gate and timing equipment, and shade structures over the starting gate.

Kristi Adams, who co-
operates the Grand Valley BMX track south of the new track’s suggested location with her husband, Nick, said she’s excited about the possibility of having a track with bathrooms and maybe a place for a concessions stand.

“Right now we have a piece of ground and we’ve made it fit, but there are narrow pathways in some areas,” she said. “To have a nice facility designed specifically for our riders and families and spectators will be great.”

Lori Austin, the mother of 13-year-old Grand Junction BMX rider Reid Austin, said she hopes the new tracks can attract more riders to the Grand Valley. After placing first in the boys 12-and-under category at the 2013 BMX World Championships last summer in New Zealand, her son has hopes of reaching the Olympics. The current track in Grand Junction is a great training ground, Lori Austin said, but she would like to see a track with room to grow and accommodate large events and more spectators.

“We have the ridership but not the facility. It’s one of those ‘if you build it they will come’ things,” she said. “Once you have USA BMX behind it and the coverage on that in their magazine, I think it would be ideal.”


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