PORT ANGELES — The Port Angeles City Council has approved the $19,600 purchase of a new starting gate for the Lincoln Park BMX Track.
The council voted 7-0 Tuesday to authorize the city manager to buy the electric starting safety gate from SASU of France, which out-bid an Illinois company for the equipment.
“I was really excited to see the starting gate that they chose,” said freshman Councilwoman Kate Dexter, whose sons have raced at the BMX track.
“This is so much safer than what is there now.”
The Lincoln Park BMX Association, which operates the city-owned track, received $50,000 in lodging tax funds to upgrade the facility and rebuild the starting hill.
The association returned $20,000 to the city to purchase a starting gate so that city staff can install it, Port Angeles Parks and Recreation Director Corey Delikat said.
“They are also donating $15,000 in materials, equipment and volunteerism as part of the project,” Delikat told the council.
Led by first-year track operator Sean Colman, the Lincoln Park BMX Association has already made a “tremendous improvement” at the facility, Councilwoman Cherie Kidd said.
“By building this infrastructure, they’ll be attracting not just regional but also statewide competition, bringing greater tourism to Port Angeles,” Kidd said.
The lodging tax fund supports marketing efforts or capital projects that put “heads in beds” by encouraging overnight stays for those traveling at least 50 miles.
Colman thanked the council for its “belief in a non-traditional youth and adult activity.”
The association has booked a semi-national competition for July 8, Colman said.
“It’s bigger than we’ve had in the previous eight or nine years,” Colman told the council during a public comment period.
“There’s still other things in the works, but nothing concrete yet.”
Dexter, who has ridden on the BMX track herself, said the new starting gate will be safer for young BMX racers “and the grown-ups, too.”
“I think we should be really grateful for that upgrade, and I’m glad that we could participate in that,” Dexter said.
The BMX association also received a $33,556 bid from Pro Gate of Illinois, Delikat said in a staff memo.
Delikat told the council that the association has done an “amazing job” repairing the 25-year-old track at the corner of West Lauridsen Boulevard and L Street.
“It doesn’t look anything like it did, and that’s what we were shooting for,” Delikat said.
“Sean has a great commitment to the track and he knows a lot of people out there who want to donate, and he’s got a lot of resources available to him. It’s been a great partnership.”
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at rollikainen@peninsula dailynews.com.