Port Angeles City Council approves pump track contract

Facility to be state’s first accessible to wheelchairs

PORT ANGELES — Port Angeles is getting a second BMX track this fall.

The City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a $656,583 contract with American Ramp Company to install a pump track at Erickson Playfield near Civic Field.

A pump track is a series of rollers and banked turns that enable BMX riders to generate momentum by using up and down “pumping” movements in lieu of pedals.

The grant-funded, volunteer-driven facility will be open for bikes, scooters, skateboards and wheelchairs.

Construction is scheduled to begin in August with an opening planned for October.

“My kids are going to love this place,” Council member Mike French said.

The pump track was spearheaded by the Lincoln Park BMX Association, which operates the popular BMX track on the city’s west side.

The Lincoln Park BMX Association received a combined $200,000 in lodging tax grants from the city and Clallam County — $100,000 from each — and partnered with the city on a $350,000 grant application to the state Recreation and Conservation Office.

The city will become the contracting party when it receives the $350,000 grant next month, Port Angeles Parks and Recreation Director Corey Delikat said.

“We’re ready to move forward with contracting and getting ready for a build in August,” said Catherine Copas, speaking on behalf of a consortium of bicycle groups working on the pump track, near the end of the council meeting Tuesday.

“We appreciate the support that we’ve had from our community fundraisers and from the council, and we’re looking forward to getting this new piece of bike infrastructure built in the city.”

The pump track will be near the new Dream Playground and existing skate park across Race Street from Civic Field. It will be the first wheelchair-accessible pump track in the nation.

The city will plant up to 30 trees near the pump track in October to compensate for trees that were removed for the Generation II Dream Playground rebuild, Delikat said.

French said the pump track scored “extremely high” when the Lodging Tax Advisory Committee reviewed the grant proposals.

City lodging tax funds can be used on projects or events that draw visitors from out of the area.

Pump tracks that have opened in Leavenworth and Bend, Ore., have attracted international competitions, advocates have said.

The Lincoln Park BMX Association obtained additional funding from local businesses, the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation and individual donors.

“It’s really great to see them kind of complete the funding patchwork that they’ve had to do so that we can authorize this contract,” French said.

“This is going to really enhance, I think, our little parks district there that we have around Race Street.”

Council member Lindsey Schromen-Wawrin addressed an email the council had received that questioned whether the money for the pump track would be better spent on affordable housing.

“That Lodging Tax Fund is not available for that,” Schromen-Wawrin said.

“None of those funds would have been affordable housing-available funds.”

Council member Charlie McCaughan was excused from the Tuesday meeting because his house was nearly destroyed in a fire on Sunday.

Mayor Kate Dexter opened the meeting by reading a statement from McCaughan and his wife, Melanie, thanking the firefighters who saved their house and the community members who had offered support.

“It really shows what a great community we are,” McCaughan said in his statement. “Life is good.”

In a later interview, McCaughan said he and his wife have found a temporary place to live while their home is being repaired.

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at [email protected].

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