By: Sarah Snyder
MIDLAND - Riders get ready - A new BMX park is rolling into the Tall City offering a new opportunity for off-road bike riders to practice and compete. Midland Parks and Recreation staff telL NewsWest 9, right now there are over 100 BMX riders in the area with no place to go. The city gave the greenlight to build the first BMX park in the Permian Basin in ten years.
Butch Tacker has been racing bikes most of his life.
"This is a very positive, influential thing you can have in your life," he said.
But living in Midland hasn't been conducive to a biking career.
"We have to travel to get to places though," Butch Tacker, Midland BMX Rider, said. "We go to Austin, we travel to Dallas, we have to go to El Paso, we have to go a long ways. The thing is, if we bring that here to Midland, we would have a great place for everybody to come instead of going somewhere else and we could bring other people from out of town as well."
Parks and Recreation used mounds of dirt that would have ended up in the landfill, bikes from the police department, and other materials given by local businesses.
"It's kind of neat," Ben Telesca with the Midland Parks and Recreation Department, said. "That's the best part about it - everything has been donated and recycled. It's not costing us an additional penny. We have not shelled a cent as far as the city."
The Reyes-Mashburn-Nelms Park is sanctioned by the American Bicycle Association allowing the City to host regional and state-wide competitions. They'll host over 75 races each year bringing in tourism dollars to Midland.
"The economic impact of it - you'll definitely see people coming from all over the region: El Paso, Dallas, Ft. Worth, even out of state coming in to race at this track," Telesca said.
But it's not just about competition. Organizers plan to open the park to any age group interested in riding, offering clinics to help new riders learn techniques and safety.
"The city needs it to change up the sporting scene around here," Tacker said. "I mean, if you're not into football, baseball, or soccer or something, that's pretty much all the sports that are offered around here. We just want to offer more of the action sports type thing: BMX race track, freestyle park. It's important to me because I know the city needs it. We need to get the kids away from the video games and out exercising."
And Butch says for now he's sticking to the line, "If you build it, they will come."
"As soon as we get the BMX park here - my numbers will double, they'll triple. It will be a huge sport and I'm excited for BMX racing to come back to Midland," Tacker said.
The designers are coming in from Houston to build the park. City leaders tell NewsWest 9, it will take them about three days to do the construction. They hope to have it ready to go in 3 to 4 weeks.