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Calexico mayor, BMXers meet to talk bike track

January 04, 2002|By AARON CLAVERIE, Staff Writer

CALEXICO — Mayor Victor Carrillo, city staffers and teen-age BMX freestyle bike riders gathered in a dusty lot near a car-crushing operation here Thursday to check out acreage that could be turned into a BMX bike park.

After inspecting the area, Carrillo and the staffers said the 5 acres — north and directly across a ravine from the Calexico International Airport — might be too dangerous to reach for 100 or so BMXers who cruise this city's streets.

The teens, Carrillo and staffers decided a BMX park next to the city's skateboarding facility at Nosotros Park would be a better option.

Carrillo told the teens, "There is already going to be security (at Nosotros Park) after the Police Athletic League moves its trailer nearby and there is already lighting."


Local BMXers were emboldened to ask for a park at Wednesday's City Council meeting after the city opened a new skateboarding facility last month. BMX bikes are not allowed in the new skate park.

Nick Fenley, assistant to City Manager Richard Inman, said city employees might be able to put together a park using leftover dirt from local developments and other on-hand resources. This would save the city money and allow the project to get finished quickly, Carrillo said.

Fenley told the teens to figure out what sort of park they want so he can look over their plans and give the City Council a cost estimate.

"Figure out if you want berms or whoopty-doos and what sort of material would be good for the ramps. It would be best to have a combination of an off-road course and a freestyle park," he said.

Roberto Gutierrez, 15, said it was important for the city to start talking about a bike park. He said homeowners get upset when BMX riders pull tricks on makeshift street ramps.

Gabriel Benitez, 19, said, "Yeah, they get mad and stuff."

Manuel Quintana, 14, said one of the only places Calexico freestylers can ride is Sunbeam Lake, which is at least 15 miles from Calexico. He said there are some dirt jumps set up there.

Carrillo told the teens the City Council takes seriously its responsibility to provide recreation opportunities to all of Calexico's youth.

"We don't want you to have to play on the streets or set up ramps in front of your homes," he said.

Carrillo told the freestylers that the council would consider sending city staffers to San Diego or Palm Springs to check out comparable bike parks to design the best one. He then asked for their help in the design.

"What you want is important," he said.

Carrillo stopped just short of guaranteeing the city would build a park for the teens.

He said the wishes of the community as a whole would have to be taken into consideration before a final decision is made.

"The money the council spends is your money, but it's also the public's money," he said.

>> Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419 or

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