Grading underway for long-awaited bike park

Work begins on a new city bike park with BMX elements above the George A. Caravalho Santa Clarita Sports Complex in Santa Clarita on Wednesday, July 22, 2020. Dan Watson/The Signal

Bike enthusiasts might be able to ride at a new city park with BMX and mountain biking elements as early as next month, officials said Wednesday. 

The long-awaited recreational amenity of about 7 acres began the grading process this week at the Santa Clarita Sports Complex, located on Centre Pointe Parkway, according to Janine Prado, director of Community Services and Recreation. 

Although not specifically a BMX track, Prado said the park will allow for multiple activities, including BMX, mountain biking and areas for younger children to allow for “different skill sets for a variety of people, children and families.” 

A total of $250,000 was allocated for the park project, which will also consist of a track with combination jumps such as “step-ups,” “step-downs,” “rollers” and “tables,” according to City Communications Manager Carrie Lujan. 

Visitors could expect to start using the park around mid-August or the start of September, said Mayor Cameron Smyth. 

“The beauty of this is it doesn’t require (building) any structure. So, we’re just really moving dirt. If all goes as planned, we’ll be open within about a month and it will be open to all of our BMXers and others,” said Smyth. 

The park’s opening would come at a perfect time amid the COVID-19 crisis, he added, as many families turn to outdoor activities following a monthslong stay-at-home order. 

“(W)e can use it even during pandemic restrictions because of it being predominantly an individual and outdoor (sport), and it’s something that the residents can use right away,” said Smyth. 

Members of the local BMX community agree, including Santa Clarita resident Chris Gadbois, who has helped spearhead efforts over the past eight years to create a local track and bike park. 

“With COVID-19, you can’t buy bikes. Bikes are sold out, and people are back outdoors and riding as a family,” he said. “The timing couldn’t have been better because everyone is out right now. I got a ton of emails and Facebook messages from a lot of excited families.” 

Despite the long wait, Gadbois said the park will greatly serve the community as it is home to many riders of all stages, including Mike Day, who earned the silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics; as well as Gadbois’ 7-year-old daughter Maya, who has competed in the BMX World Championships as a member of Team USA. 

Maya is among local riders who train and ride at Central Park and have had to travel dozens of miles to practice on a BMX track, such as to Bakersfield, Whittier, Camarillo and at Simi Valley before the track closed down just more than a year ago. 

Prado said that after grading is complete, designing the layout and courses would follow soon after. 

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