Mad River Union
MCKINLEYVILLE – A proposal to build a BMX track in McKinleyville is gaining momentum and could become a reality as early as this summer.
Local BMX enthusiast Jason Orlandi discussed the idea with the McKinleyville Community Services District’s Recreation Advisory committee at its Jan. 16 meeting.
The bicycle track is proposed for a three-acre site owned by the MCSD at the corner of School Road and Washington Avenue on the southwest side of town. Orlandi said that the track would fit into a space roughly 250 feet by 200 feet.
The dirt track would be well manicured, dust free, and fenced. It would be for bicycles only, not motorcycles. A playground and other park amenities could be included at the site.
The MCSD held a meeting in December to get feedback from neighbors.
“For the most part, it went very well,” Orlandi told the committee. He said neighbors said they want a buffer zone between the track and their backyard fences. Orlandi said that nobody at the meeting opposed the idea of a BMX track.
MCSD Recreation Director Lesley Frisbee told Orlandi that the next step is for him to gather more information about the cost of obtaining permits for the track from the Humboldt County Planning Department. She said he also needs to develop a budget and timeline for the project.
This information would then be presented to the Recreation Advisory Committee, which would vote and make a recommendation to the MCSD Board of Directors, which would ultimately decide whether to approve the project.
Orlandi said that local BMX riders have been without a track for about a year and a half since the closure of the track at Redwood Acres in Eureka. The fair decided to close the track so it could use the land for other uses.
BMX enthusiasts then built a track on DANCO property out in Samoa, but then became enmeshed in permitting issues, being that the property is located on the Coastal Zone. The track is currently closed.
Orlandi said the McKinleyville BMX track would cost about $50,000 to build. That amount, however, depends on a lot of factors. It’s unclear what the county will require in terms of parking. A simple gravel parking lot would be relatively inexpensive. However, cost could rise substantially if the county requires a paved parking lot, with curbs, gutters and sidewalks.
Orlandi said that when the track at Redwood Acres was open, it wasn’t unusual to have as many as 50 riders using the track on any given weekend.
The Recreation Advisory Committee will likely receive an update on the BMX track at its next meeting on Thursday, Feb. 20 at 6:30 p.m. at the MCSD Conference Room, 1656 Sutter Rd. in McKinleyville.