It appears that Barrio Trails, the community-driven BMX park that has been on again and off again, seems to have the necessary support among the two neighborhoods surrounding the park and Pima County, which owns the land.

In a meeting last night with officials from Pima County’s Flood Control Department, the group in charge of the drainage project that will destroy the existing park, neighborhood representatives expressed their support for the park as it exists today.

Even though the neighborhoods support the park it could be as much as a year before it can be rebuilt.

As late as last week questions emerged as to whether members of the Miles Neighborhood supported the track. A few vocal residents expressed their concern about the park.

According to an email from Greg Clark, a resident in the Miles Neighborhood, at their meeting last week the residents said they couldn’t give their support to a project without seeing what it entailed, but they passed a motion saying they supported the park in its current form.

Clark wrote,

“On Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2011, the Miles Neighborhood Association voted overwhelmingly (21 or 22 in favor, three opposed, with five abstentions) to support the character of the “Barrio Trails” BMX area that exists now on the south side the Arroyo Chico, near Freemont Ave and Miles St., and asking to be involved in planning for whatever it can become after it is razed by the U.S. Army Corps of engineers.

Without knowing what is planned or what is possible, it was too controversial to say anything about future plans, but the neighborhood association did manage to get a general vote in support of the BMX use as it is.

That way, we felt it would show Pima County, the Corps of Engineers, our adjacent neighborhood, and any others involved in planning for the area that the Miles Neighborhood is in support of the character of the dirt BMX trails that have been hand-built and used by the BMX community during the past several years. During open discussion, there seemed to be general agreement that dirt trails, no concrete, no fencing, no lights is what is acceptable to our neighborhood.

It should be noted that the current area hosts features of all sizes that appeal to a full range of skill levels, from the earliest beginner (my 3-year old daughter has fun there on her push bike) to expert adults. It is those adults who are frequent users of the course, who have built and designed the course over the past 6-8 years to have a place to pursue their interest in BMX riding.  I have not heard of any trouble, crime, or injuries occurring at the area due to the BMX course.”

Martha Lemen, the chairperson for the BAC’s BMX subcommittee, said she was bracing for a tough meeting, but said it went really well and was happy to hear the neighbors’ thoughts.

“The neighbors are generally behind Barrio as it stands now,” she said. “They don’t want it smaller, they don’t want it larger than its current footprint.”

Lemen was really pleased with the outcome.

“It was the easiest meeting I have ever attended,” she said. “It was pretty dang awesome.”

Rocky Serna, the founder of the park, is in Portland and could not attend the meeting, but sent an email to people involved expressing the vision he has for Barrio Trails.

He wrote:

The Barrio trails started in 2005 by James Sandenaw and myself. It swiftly gained positive popularity and support from the BSANA and the cycling community at large. I began attending BSANA meetings in 2006 shortly after to share my goals and intentions that still hold today;
– to create a clean healthy environment
– to educate riders the importance of our delicate desert landscape, trees, plants, and it’s creatures
– to understand the physics of riding a bike, maintenance, and safety
– to respect the neighborhood that supports us
– to remove graffiti with tasteful art (flowers and encouraging quotes)
– to build a park that accommodates riders of all skill levels and disciplines
– make it visually appealing to neighbors and riders with landscaping (hand stacked river stones and properly pruned shade trees)
– reduce transient traffic and camping

Many donations have been offered, from cash, bird feeders, landscape materials and tools, benches, large pieces of art, and signs, from small businesses, enthusiasts, and even Tucson High School, But I have only accepted Garbage bins, and a water tank. In the future I would like to see what would be acceptable by the Miles and BSANA.

I understand budget concerns, but look at what we have done with 100% volunteer time and donations. I would like to continue that same community generosity and benevolence and  not ask for any money from our city or county as they have tight budgets already.

I’m looking to keep a smooth solid relationship with both neighborhoods, and Pima county and am completely open to all suggestions and concerns. No concrete, No lights, No motorized vehicles, No drugs, Nothing not approved by all of us. Design work is free and can begin as soon as we are all on the same page.

The ability to design a park is only limited by creativity. any space the neighbors can agree on can be worked with. As much as I prefer Basin 1, any one of the Basin will do. The new park should be roughly the same size, but with more places to hide from the sun and places for animals(lizards, birds, squirrels, etc.)  to retreat.

For now it appears Barrio Trails is in good shape. Stay tuned for updates.

6 thoughts on “Barrio Trails gets the green light…again”
  1. The volunteerism, respect, and dedication of the BMXers and Neighborhoods all coming together to protect and re-create a unique community assest is rare. I hope the powers at Pima Co and Army Corps understand and appreciate that and take advantage of the opportunity before them.

  2. Parking was brought up last night, and it’s a neighborhood concern.  To date, there hasn’t been any crazy out of control crowds, and it’s anticipated this will not change.  The dirt lot that the few cars currently use will be “basin-ized”, but there is a building on site that will remain, and it has space for about 10 cars.  Street parking is available for overflow.

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