THE planned Cherry Avenue park in Kildare town could be home to a national standard BMX race track, according to campaigners.
Kildare Co Council previously explained that plans for the park include a pump track through a woodland and described it as a BMX track suitable for those new to BMX. However Ross Dunleavy, who has been involved in this campaign for several years, said that a national standard BMX track can be used by all levels and could host national championship level events.
He noted that it could have a massive advantage for the community and the sport – one that has seen some great Irish successes of late on the European and international stage. Local facilities would undoubtedly generate greater local interest – facilities are key to the development of a sport with the potential for Olympic athletes.
“I know that’s a long way down the road, but the talent is there, the raw materials are there in order to build a really successful future for the sport,” he said. “But it’s so heavily dependent on facilities.”
Ross explained that a national standard track would require around an acre in the park, given that the development will have its own facilities such as parking and toilets, while a standalone facility would require 2-3 acres. He said that the council “basically said that there’s nowhere in Cherry Avenue that is suitable for a BMX track” and that “their opinion is that it doesn’t fit into the plans for the park, even though there is a proposed BMX pump track which could be quite easily converted into a BMX race track”.
Ross added that while a report was prepared to ascertain if there are suitable sites to locate a BMX track – on foot of a motion by Cllr Fiona McLoughlin Healy – “the answer came back that there’s nowhere suitable in Kildare county for a BMX facility”.
BMX has been described as suitable for all ages and abilities, a great way for families to bond over a common interest and, due to the involvement of adults in terms of mentoring and coaching young riders, no prospect of antisocial behaviour. People of all ages getting out and active is another positive, not to mention the potential for bike tourism in the town and additional footfall in local businesses. The sport, Ross said, is great for kids “because you can’t get dropped from your BMX. No matter what level you are, when you turn up to an event you get at least four races”.
As Ross explained before, they have found a developer to cover costs, a designer, and a track builder – a site is all they need from the Council. Clubs run and maintain such facilities after construction, and they’re in the process of setting up a local BMX club, Kildare County BMX.
“We just want to build a track for kids to enjoy,” he said.