Sunday, January 16, 2000

Middletown considers bicycle park


Aim: Keep bikes out of skate area

BY DAVID ECK
Enquirer Contributor

        MIDDLETOWN — Now that skaters have a place to do their jumps and grinds,the city is turning its attention to the needs of bicyclists.

        Recreation officials and area youth are discussing preliminary plans to create a bike park in the city.

        Baker Bowl Skate Park opened in June for skaters, but bicyclists are not allowed in it because of concerns about safety and potential damage.

        “What we're doing at this point is just trying to find a desirable location and address the funding issues,” said Denise Bolton, recreation administrator.

        “Once those items are addressed we plan to take this request to the park board and city commission.”

        A bike park would feature wooden ramps and half-pipes that bicyclists could used for trick riding.

        '

        The skate park, which opened last year at the city's Smith Park, has been wildly successful, attracting hundreds of kids on skateboards and in-line skates.

        But friction also has developed between skaters and those who sneak bikes into the park to perform stunts.

        The park's rules prohibiting bikes are clearly posted, police and city officials said.

        Though most bicyclists cooperate when asked to leave the park, an incident last week ended in a scuffle with police.

        Two men and a juvenile were arrested.

        Charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest were John Huffman, 21, of Franklin, and David Murphy, 18, of Middletown. A 15-year-old was charged with criminal damaging and disorderly conduct.

        The incident started about 5:30 p.m. when the 15-year-old continued riding a bicycle in Baker Bowl, after being warned by a police officer, said Maj. Mark Hoffman, Middletown deputy police chief.

        There is no timetable for building a bike park, nor is there yet a cost estimate.

        But as with the skate park, Mrs. Bolton said, local youths will have to play a key role if a bike park is to come about.

        She said fund-raisers, grants and donations would be vital.

        “We are looking at the youth to provide the majority of the funds that would go into this project,” she said.

        “I think it's a good possibility.”

       



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