A soft opening event was held on December 19, 2009 for the Turlock BMX Bike Park located at Christoffersen + Panorama.
It has been reported that Parks and Recreation Manager Rick Harden said that city crews worked hard to get the bike park open for riders to use during the holiday break.
Mayor John Lazar attended the event as did Dominic Rufo, the young man that emailed TurlockCityNews.com three years ago looking for help with his dream to get some legal dirt jumps at a park.
TurlockCityNews.com was not notified of the event so we are uncertain of everyone in attendance or the event details, but the bike park was officially opened up last Saturday morning at 10am.
The event had been planned to be the official ribbon cutting event until it was pointed that the donors had not been informed and should be recognized. City of Turlock staff tried to call and email the donors the day before at 4pm but were unsuccessful, and thus cancelled the ribbon cutting part of the soft opening. Some major donors were contacted and did attend.
Bike park community organizer David (DJ) Fransen (TurlockCityNews.com owner) and major community volunteer/park designer Matt Nascimento (Bike Works owner) were not in attendance.
“I didn’t even know about the bike park opening until the day before and didn’t know there was any kind of event until a friend called me saying that they city was opening the park without me,” joked DJ Fransen. “Between this and the City saying I couldn’t volunteer work on the project, I’m guessing it’s personal or political.”
Fransen said that he could not comment on why he did not attend even after finding out the day before, but did say “I really care, I’ve cared for about 3 years but… I just can’t comment.”
Fransen’s main concern was that according to the bike riders, the dirt jumps were not finished being formed and unsafe. Fransen was also frustrated that the City of Turlock has not communicated with the volunteers that he has the contact list of and did not consider the donors who made this project possible.
“For the last three years, all I’ve heard is that this project was going to be a huge volunteer effort… The main community group or media hasn’t even heard of the work days,” said Fransen. “We’ve only had about 7 days of work from volunteers to move and plan what to do with hundreds of tons of dirt.”
Matt Nascimento clarified what Fransen spoke of as he explained that the dirt jumps weren’t ready for the December 19, 2009 opening.
“The dirt needs to set, they need to bake. And with all the rain we just had…” said Nascimento. “Also, the lips to the jumps aren’t even how we need them to be.”
Nascimento also had a bigger issue with the fact the BMX bike park design he planned is not the course that is out there now.
“I closed my bike shop for three Saturdays and worked a few weekday mornings on it, and then I find the jumps had been changed with the double jumps filled in,” said Nascimento. “Why did they even ask me for a design?”
Nascimento explained the complexities of how a park should work and states that the kids now have an embarrassing bike park they won’t be able to use effectively.
Matt Nascimento did not attend the opening event and hopes that the City of Turlock will allow him and volunteers the time they need to make the bike park according to the riders’ design, successful, and safe.
It’s been reported that there may be more volunteer work days but that an official ribbon cutting opening will probably be held in a few weeks.
City of Turlock Doesn’t Respond
TurlockCityNews.com tried to ask the City of Turlock for clarification on their position for prematurely opening the bike park and not contacting volunteers or donors.
After a follow up call, Parks and Recreation Manager Rick Harden said that he had forwarded the questions to Municipal Services Director Dan Madden and that he believed Madden would be responding to the Q&A.
TurlockCityNews.com has not received a response or statement regarding any aspect of the Turlock BMX Bike Park since its help in fundraising the $10,000 and contacting all the listed volunteers for the first work day.
Since sending the TurlockCityNews.com Q&A, Matt Nascimento has reported that Parks and Recreation Manager Rick Harden came into Bike Works and said that the city attorney was the one who made the call on changing the bike park design because it looked scary and unsafe.
Nascimento said that Harden requested help to correctly finish the bike park construction but that there was no definite comprise or solution agreed upon.
Matt Nascimento told TurlockCityNews.com that he would not close his bike park on anymore Saturdays but might still be willing to help solve problems by volunteering on Sunday work days. DJ Fransen said that he would continue to help out in anyway possible if the City will allow it.
Despite the dirt jumps not being completed according to riders’ standards, the Turlock BMX Bike Park located at Christoffersen + Panorama is open and helmets are required.