Escondido Residents Debate BMX Race Track At Kit Carson Park
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Aired 11/13/13 on KPBS Midday Edition.
Vince McCurdy is the track operator of the Kearney Moto Park. He's proposing to put a similar BMX track in Kit Carson Park in Escondido.
Grant Taylor is president of Friends of Kit Carson Park. The group organized earlier this year in response to opposition to a proposal to put a 9-acre water slide park in Kit Carson Park.
Aired 11/12/13 on KPBS News.
BMX racing is growing in popularity, but the idea of putting a commercial track in a public park has its critics.
BMX racing is one of the so-called "extreme sports," but it's important to know it’s not the motorized variety. The "B" stands for "bicycle" and it's all about pedal power.
Vince McCurdy operates two BMX tracks in Lakeside and Kearny Mesa. He said as Escondido considers a plan to build a race track in Kit Carson Park, residents should remember that noise shouldn’t be a big issue for communities.
"There’s going to be yelling and screaming, 'Pedal, pedal, pedal!' and, 'My baby's winning!' and there’ll be announcers calling the kids out," he said, "but as for engine noise — none!"
McCurdy said BMX racing appeals to little kids and adults and it’s been an Olympic sport since 2008. McCurdy has had his eye on a track in North County for years.
"Basically we’re going to put on a BMX race same as in the Olympics," he said. "We start actually racing 'em at a competitive level at age 5 and under. So they bring their bikes, we’ll get 'em in a helmet and make sure they got a suit and then they take off down the hill and race around for a trophy."
But a group of Escondido residents recently formed to defend Kit Carson Park from incursions by private enterprises. Ruth Weber is a member.
"Only the people that can pay to use it will be able to use it and it’s a public park," she said. "Everybody should be able to use all the things in the park without paying. And the city would have to pay to construct this area — so the city and the taxpayers are having all the risk and not the person that is actually going to run the park.“
The proposal on the table has the city of Escondido paying $113,000 to build the park, which would then be leased to Escondido BMX, a for-profit entity.
Wednesday night’s hearing is to see if the plan has any traction in the community.