‘We need somewhere to call home’: Olympian after bulldozing of Visalia BMX park

‘We need somewhere to call home’: Olympian after bulldozing of Visalia BMX park

VISALIA, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – The City of Visalia’s BMX community gave their heartfelt testimonies at Monday night’s city council meeting following the bulldozing of a community park last week.

On Monday, March 25, a community-built BMX park in Visalia was bulldozed by city code enforcement who said the park was a liability and in the presence of protected trees.

Visalia’s BMX park flattened by the city: what riders want to happen next

The leveling of the park left BMX riders who helped build it over 10 years distraught. The Academy BMX member James Karr along with other members of the BMX community took to social media and received a massive wave of support.

“We saw support from other bicycle groups, road bikers, racers,” Karr said. “We even saw support from community members that had nothing to do with bicycles.”

The uproar on social media eventually garnered the attention of the City of Visalia who posted on their social media in response.

BMX Bike Community: Let’s discuss!

We want to discuss potential future bike track options in our community.

We will get in touch with you for a future community outreach meeting.

City of Visalia Instagram

On Monday, April 1, the city made good on their word and allowed members of the community to provide testimonies, including Visalia native and Olympian Brooke Crain.

“I was a little girl who didn’t fit into other sports and when I found BMX I fell in love,” Crain said. “At 15 years old I turned professional and by 19 I made my first Olympic team.”

According to Crain, she had to drive to neighboring cities like Hanford, Lemoore, Bakersfield, and Fresno every night of the week to get similar quality training.

Crain retired from BMX in 2022 and says she had never been on the trails that Visalia Code Enforcement tore down but that trails like that have been torn down for as long as she can remember— leaving BMX riders in the city with nowhere to ride.

Crain, Karr, and many others in Visalia’s BMX community gave heartfelt speeches during the city council meeting. Karr says the meeting is just one example of how the City has shown interest in working with the BMX community to move forward and show newfound support.

Following public comment, the City of Visalia propositioned the community to fill out a survey with their availability, plan a meeting, and talk at length about a new bike park.

Anyone interested in filling out the survey can do so here.

YourCentralValley.com reached out to the City of Visalia for a statement but did not receive one in time for this article.

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