One-of-a-kind BMX facility project moving forward in upper Mylan Park

May 25—In November 2021, Mylan Park announced it was working with USA BMX, Action Sports Design and others on the first national-level BMX facility in West Virginia and quite possibly the first fully accessible national-level BMX facility in the United States, if not the world.

In September 2022, a groundbreaking ceremony was held for the Mylan Park Action Sports & Bike Park Complex.

Since then, updates on the project have been few and far between.

Mylan Park Foundation President Ron Justice recently explained why.

"We got a grant to explore a BMX facility and we asked the granting entity about moving our location ... It had to go through HUD (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development). We were told we'd have that decision by late last July. We got that decision in April, " Justice said.

"The reason we've been held up on that is in order to move forward we were going to spend planning money to plan the facility, but if they didn't approve the location, we didn't want to invest a lot of money in a location we couldn't use."

While the new amenities were initially envisioned in lower Mylan Park, it'll actually be located just beyond the expanded aquatic center parking area, in the park's upper section.

"Last week was our first full meeting of the group to start looking at timelines and construction, " Justice said. "So, what I can tell you right now is probably by the end of the year, all the design work will be in place, and we'll go to construction next spring."

The complex will include a USA BMX-sanctioned hard-surfaced track, Union Cycliste Internationale competition-level hard-surfaced pump track, hard-surfaced progressive bike jump /flow lines and a mountain bike skills trail loop.

What will set this facility apart is its focus on accessibility.

While Mylan Park's initial aim was to simply land the BMX park, a unique opportunity came to the fore when its partners, including USA BMX, Action Sports Design and others, toured the park and saw what was already on offer from entities like SteppingStones and PACE Enterprises.

Michael McIntyre has designed Olympic-level BMX facilities across the country for Action Sports Design.

"The concept for Mylan Park ... is inclusion. Having it barrier-free and dealing with mobility issues to include Paralympic activities, which has not been done for the Olympic sport of BMX, " McIntyre said during the project's 2021 announcement. "What we're looking at is having the world's first all-inclusive wheel park located within Mylan Park."

The project is being financed through a $4.68 million grant as part of the American Rescue Plan through the West Virginia Department of Economic Development's travel, tourism and outdoor recreation program. Added to that will be a $1.2 million local match, bringing the facility to just under $5.9 million.

"That's what we're looking at. We have to keep it under that budget, " Justice said. "Either that or go raise a bunch more money."

TWEET @DominionPostWV