By Ed Martin, The Leader Editor

An enthusiastic group of BMX (Bicycle Moto Cross) patrons is trying to get a long dormant sport back on track in Lemoore and want the city’s help in doing so. Unfortunately, while city council members signed on to the plan delivered unto them by Frameworks Racing Inc. it remains to be seen just how much it’s going to cost the city.

 Based on a recommendation from the Lemoore Recreation Commission, which has worked with Frameworks, commission members suggested Frameworks come up with $12,000 as an up-front cost and then request $25,000 from the city to help construct a basic BMX course on property currently owned by the city, adjacent to the existing Lemoore Raceway off Highway 41.

However, councilmembers, at their June 3 meeting, did manage to approve a lease with Frameworks calling for a $37,000 city expenditure from impact fees associated with the Parks and Recreation Department budget which could get the BMX track started. Capital Impact Fees normally are used to construct permanent structures and not to be used for ongoing expenditures or maintenance. Frameworks would have to raise $12,000, which would then trigger implementation of the lease and the additional $37,000.

Parks and Recreation Director Joe Simonson summed up the BMX proposal. “As we left the last meeting I think the general consensus was that option B (property to the east of the Lemoore Raceway) was the preferred site, and that the $12,000 that they raise, their board would use for further improvements and that we would take the $37,000 out of the $1,260,000 (impact fees) for the upstart money – the $37, 000,” he said.

Missing from the final lease was any item regarding water, and just how to get it to the parcel – which could be a concern. There is a well on the Lemoore Raceway site, but according to local officials, the water is not consumable. A line must be constructed to supply much-needed water, not only for consumption, but for landscaping, keeping dust down, and concessions. According to Derek Weisser, president of Frameworks Racing, it would cost about $40,000 to connect a six-inch line to the property. How the pipeline gets built and who pays for it remains a discussion for a future council meeting.

“Water is an issue,” said Weisser. “But it’s not the end of the world. There were topics that we really haven’t finalized. There are a lot of options for us and it is something we will address. We can always use portable water.”

During a break and a discussion with the Lemoore Public Works Director David Wlaschin, Simonson reported that Wlaschin suggested that because of the potential for future development in the area, it was probably best to build a 12-inch line to the site, which would add additional costs to the project. Simonson suggested that if someone else initiated the pipe, the city might pay for the extra oversizing to meet future needs.

Nor is there an existing power source at the site. Track officials contend that at the start they may use portable generators to keep the track up and running until a permanent source of power can be found.

BMX was once an important part of the Lemoore sports scene, particularly in the 1980s and ‘90s. In the ‘80s Lemoore had a thriving BMX that for several years was popular and managed to draw racers from across the country. The earlier version of BMX, which was built at the 19th Avenue Park, was the brainchild of local doctor, Jesse Liscomb, who spearheaded the effort to get that original track constructed. Over the course of time, fewer BMX events were held at the former site at 19th Avenue Park and it eventually was abandoned. Only recently the track became the victim of progress as the new 19th Avenue overpass took up all of the property where the track used to be.

Weisser like his predecessor, Liscomb, credits his kids for getting him involved in the sport. “My kids are in the sport and when I grew up friends of mine were part of the Lemoore track,” he said. “We approached Joe Simonson and shared some ideas. The end result was the creation of what Weisser hopes is a non-profit 501 c 3 IRS recognized organization. Currently there are five members on the existing board.