Parents have joined forces with Elings Park’s Board of Directors to reopen the park’s BMX track after it closed unexpectedly in October. When the former operators fell behind on payments, which violated their sanction agreement with USA BMX, a national organization, and closed Elings’ BMX track, the operators took with them the starting gate, bleachers, generator, and other equipment. The fundraising burden for new equipment now falls to the parents.
The collaboration between parents and the board has them splitting tasks: As administrator for the track, the Board will handle paperwork and liability issues with USA BMX; the parent group will run the track and concession stand, as well as collect rider’s dues. USA BMX is central to the sport, as the organization ranks riders nationally and records rider’s scores.
The Board of Directors is excited about the partnership, and its members have been anxious seeing the track idle: “It’s of concern to the board to see it lying dormant” said Michael Nelson, Elings Park Foundation’s executive director. To attract more participants, the board invited the Santa Barbara Mountain Bike Trail Volunteers to discuss the relaunching of the track. “We want to perpetuate all biking activity and have greater utilization of the track,” said Nelson. But first, the parents have to pull this off, he added. “We have no money for them,” said Nelson of the park’s current budget.
The track tentatively stands to be reopened with the start of the new year, leaving the parent group with just over a month to organize fundraising. The committee has already found an individual to donate a starting gate, and other equipment, such as an air compressor, generator, and announcing system are being loaned. The committee’s goal is to gather enough donations to purchase equipment for the track to own.