Editorial: BMX park puts jump in city’s step

City Hall

As long as liability issues are in order, officials with the county and City of Hollister are responding aptly to a community need by supporting a new BMX facility next to the skate park.
City council members last week approved $78,000 in capital support for the plan to spend at least $100,000 in total – with the remainder of start-up funds from the county – on a new slate of BMX obstacles at Veterans Memorial Park. Plans call for replacing the current basketball courts with equipment used in the rapidly growing niche sport, along with other related landscaping work.
Council members’ approval was the culmination of a spirited, collective effort by supporters of the new BMX facility. Those advocates included BMX riders and their parents, skaters and their parents, and an impassioned parks commissioner in Laura Miller.
Supporters weren’t just cheering for something they want, either. They were making the case for a need in the local parks culture and to provide a segment of youths with a constructive outlet. Instead of falling back on typical arguments against such building ventures – such as safety concerns or favoritism toward more mainstream sports – parks commissioners and council members showed they aren’t so out of touch with younger generations in Hollister, a city that is often generalized as a place with little to provide in the way of positive activities for minors.
While the $78,000 will come from park-specific impact funds – not the more discretionary general fund – supporters have vowed to form a committee to oversee future fundraising efforts in order to pay for ongoing costs at the new facility. Finding a non-public source for future funding is crucial with no money set aside to address unforeseen matters or even depreciation of the equipment – assuming this is a long-term commitment and not just an experiment.
More important from a long-term perspective: As long as city and county officials minimize liability risk – which would include regular police enforcement of helmet rules at the new bicycle park and current skate park – the BMX project is a good investment for the community.

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