Gilbert could soon become America’s epicenter of BMX bike racing with a national headquarters, Olympic training track and public park if the Town Council votes to fund the $19 million project this month.
Parker Leavitt, The Republic | azcentral.com4:15 a.m. EDT March 13, 2014
A 4,000-seat covered arena would host national events at least twice a year and could someday become the home of Olympic qualifying races, USA BMX officials told Gilbert residents at a community meeting on Tuesday.
USA BMX is the governing body of a growing sport that earned recognition as an Olympic event at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
The organization boasts 70,000 members worldwide, including 5,000 in Arizona and 260 in Gilbert.
The sport is known for its high-flying jumps, quick speeds down steep hills and the occasional collision as racers navigate through banked curves.
The organization has plans for at least 50 competitions and 100 practice days per year at the Gilbert track, officials said. Winter and fall national competitions also would be held in Gilbert, and those events each draw between 1,500 and 2,000 participants.
“This project is not a build-it-and-they-might-come dream,” said B.A. Anderson, chief executive officer for USA BMX. “We are the governing body. We make the schedule, and when I say we will be having an event, it will be here.”