BMX association pulls out of SK Community Park

After fighting tough economic times over the last three years, the financially-strapped South Kitsap BMX Association folded its tent this week at the South Kitsap Community Park.

The termination of the association ends a 13-year run at the park, which hosted hundreds of bike races since its first competitions in 1990.

Though the association had strained relations with park commissioners in the previous two years, park commissioner Charlotte Garrido said she was informed by fellow park commissioner Dave Kimball that the association’s decision to leave was a business decision.

“It just wasn’t paying for itself,” Garrido said.

When a lease agreement was signed in 2002 prior to the start of the racing season, it was agreed the association would pay about $50 a month in rent to the parks board and maintain responsibility for track upkeep and maintenance.

Mike Raich, president of the SK BMX Association, said in an interview last year the $50 was to cover water costs, though he argued the association only used about $6 worth of water monthly during the six months of racing.

The association’s biggest financial setback was the high cost of maintaining the track

“There is no money to pay for an on-site manager,” Raich said. “Misuse of the track from kids cost more to replace than an original startup fee. It had cost us over $700 to fix it up for racing. Normally it would have cost between $100 to $150.”

This year would have been the second year of a five-year lease, but wording in the contract allows for either party to pull out if deemed necessary.

In this case, it was the SK BMX Association that pulled out.

It was this 90-day out clause in the lease that Raich wasn’t too happy about.

But in the end, it turned out to be the association’s only alternative.

It also states in the contract that if no association takes over the race track, the previous renters must flatten the track back to what it was before it was built.

“That’s in the contract, and we feel they want to meet the terms of the contract,” Garrido said.

Because this recent turn of events, Garrido said the commissioners will discuss the future of the land area.

She also hopes more community members jump on board and join the commisioners’ master planning board.

“Right now, we need to sit back and take a look at this (land),” Garrido said. “(BMX leaving) was a surprise to us.”

Meanwhile, everything is in place for an outdoor basketball court to be completed — except for a “work force”, Garrido said.

The court, which will be constructed where the skateboard park used to sit, will consist of a full-length, two-hoop court.

“It’s just a matter of human power to get it done,” Garrido said. “We have borrowed equipment to drill into concrete slabs.”

There was a temporary hoop in place, and Garrido said it was a success.

The basketball equipment was purchased many years ago and has been sitting in storage, waiting for a home.

Garrido the commissioners would love to have anyone who has experience with concrete to volunteer their time to put up the hoops.

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