Plans for Utah Velodrome Move Forward
by Greg Overton
Cyclists along Utah's Wasatch Front will have more options for fun or competition in the near future. The Salt Lake Velodrome Association has begun fundraising for construction of a new velodrome in Utah, after being granted 501C3 status as a non-profit organization and obtaining a State of Utah solicitation permit. The next step in bringing a velodrome to Utah is choosing the location, and the design phase can begin.
Two leading sites are the Utah State Fairpark in Salt Lake City, and an Ogden location as a major component in a new velo park planned for that city. Mark Kennedy, a member of the Salt Lake Velodrome Association, said, "We have met with Mayor Godfrey. Ogden is beginning work on a multi-sport facility that could feature a velodrome. The city is very committed on this, and if the cycling community can come together to support its portion of this great facility, we could be well on the way to having a fabulous addition to Utah: an indoor velodrome. Working with Ogden could bring the cost of the track and facility down near the stand alone cost of constructing an outdoor track, and we would have one of the best tracks in the United States."
There is more than one option, as Kennedy pointed out, "Association board members also met with representatives of the State Fairgrounds. The Fairgrounds could be one of the best locations to build a track facility because it has all the infrastructure already in place, and enough land available to build a track facility and possibly even work into an outdoor cycling facility."
Several cities in the intermountain west are developing comprehensive cycling specific venues. Eagle (Boise) Idaho, and Fort Collins, Colorado, are the nearest cities to Utah to begin work on public velo parks that include mountain bike skills (Freeride) courses, BMX tracks and parks, cross country racecourses, and cyclocross courses. They are connected to the bike paths and roads that are easily accessed by cyclists in their communities. When facilities like this are developed in conjunction with local municipalities, it reduces the fundraising burden otherwise placed on a private or non-profit group such as the Salt Lake Velodrome Association, by offering public lands and in some cases, even sharing the cost of construction and maintenance. This can be a major piece to the funding puzzle.
The SLVA is exploring all possibilities in funding the velodrome, regardless of its location. "We have met with the Utah State Dept of Economic Development to share our vision and develop a critical mass to start making this happen. We have started working with a fundraising company to help us chart out the next stage, which is gathering funds to support our vision." Kennedy commented. "There are ways for the cycling community to become involved, individually and collectively. Please sign the petition by visiting http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/bicycle-velodrome-salt-lake-city-ut.html and visit our website at www.saltlakevelodrome.com for further developments."