Pump Tracks USA in talks with county

By Dean Shipley

March 17, 2014

The Friends of Madison County Parks and Trails (FMCPT) have been in discussions with Pump Tracks USA regarding the placement of a facility in London, it was reported Monday during the county commissioners meeting.

“It’s not like BMX,” said Wayne Roberts, for the volunteer group. “It’s more of a community activity training experience, not an organized sport.”

It’s not BMX, but an activity-generated facility and used by Olympic-level athletes in training Roberts said.

The facility can be large or small, paved or dirt. Roberts said the little-used BMX track at Merri-Mac Park would not be a candidate for the location.

Roberts said London Parks and Recreation director, Ben McCoy, the Downtown London organization and the London Community Organization, are “enthusiastic about it.”

Not only is the proposed park, described as low maintenance, devised to bring people into the city, it would also be used by local cycling enthusiasts, a place for them to go to ride their bikes, Roberts said. “Be wide open and easy safe access.”

Other sites mentioned included the infield of the race track at Madison County Fairgrounds or Cowling Park, which has had some land attached to its area.

Roberts said McCoy will make the next move.

McCoy said though excitement exists, funding is the component the city will have to think about “long term.”

“It could be attractive for our town,” he said.

The FMCPT also spoke with John Forrest, Jefferson Township trustee, regarding a connecting trail for the township’s two park tracts on the west side of the covered bridge on Taylor-Blair Road.

Roberts said Forrest had diagrams of their plan.

“We’d be glad to participate,” Roberts said.

He suggested the trustees contact Jim Snyder, the contractor who oversaw the construction of the Ohio/Erie trail through Madison County. Roberts said it was a good idea for the trustees to bring in an experienced professional to assist them with their challenges.

The park board also discussed potential long-term funding sources for the park system.

“The park district needs funding,” said Julia Cumming, district spokeswoman. “Volunteers help but have a limit to what they can do. There’s something missing. There’s a gap we can’t overcome.”

The Friends have conducted fundraising events and grants have been applied for and received.

Roberts asked the commissioners to think about it from a park commission’s standpoint.

“What are we doing together and how can we act as a park commission? How can we work together for funding we need?” Some “brainstorming” is needed on funding.

Dean Shipley can be reached at (740) 852-1616, ext. 17 or via Twitter @DeanAShipley.