BMX track may come to Stanwood

By BRIAN KELLY

Herald Writer

STANWOOD — Councilman Les Anderson wants to see a whole lot of dirt dumped in Heritage Park. Any dirt will do.

The idea is to build a BMX track, a facility where kids can ride and race their bikes through a series of jumps, bumps, twists and turns.

Anderson is lobbying his fellow council members to support the idea, and he hopes to come back with enough details to make the dream a reality. He thinks the idea will fly if the facility can be built for little or no cost to the city.

"I think we can get all the material for free," Anderson said. "When people build homes and developers are developing their land, often they need to get rid of dirt."

The project wouldn’t need spectacular soil, just 1,000 cubic yards or so of fill. "I think the local dirt works," he said. "I’ve had people call already to see if they can put dirt there."

Anderson, who has a 15-year-old son who is active in the sport, has visited the BMX tracks in Burlington and Everett. He envisions a track that’s between 900 and 1,200 feet long. It could be built near the skateboard pad at the east end of the 43-acre park.

"We still have plenty of space that’s undeveloped," he said. "We’re just talking dirt, so it’s really not hard to expand."

Anderson said he likes the setup of the track in Everett’s McCollum County Park, which opened in 1996.

"It was designed and built by kids and parents. We’re looking to do the same kind of thing," Anderson said, adding that he hopes a drafting class at the high school can help design a course.

Some say build it, and the kids will come.

BMX bikes are picking up in popularity, said Don Jovag, owner of Stanwood Velo Sport. He knows many riders who use the south Everett and Burlington tracks and figures they would love to have a local course.

"I think they would use it a great deal," Jovag said.

BMX, short for bicycle motocross, started in the 1970s and has about 60,000 racers nationwide, according to the American Bicycle Association.

"BMX is a big, big thing. It is not just some little backyard thing," said Char Ayres, track operator at McCollum County Park. "This is a nationally known sport."

It took Ayres nine years to get a public BMX track built in the county. But Anderson is hoping he can convince city officials to be ready to begin next spring.

Ayres said: "This really attracts your teen-agers. And it’s really good for them. It’s a good, healthy sport, and there’s lots of parental guidance. Most of the kids bring their moms, who bring the food. And Dad brings the toolbox. And then they’re the cheering section."

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