No to the Lafayette BMX Park

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The Lafayette Parks, Trails and Recreation Commission has proposed the creation of a BMX park in the Lafayette Community Park. The development of this 1.8 acre park space will result in a series of large dirt jumps surrounded by a four foot fence. To date the city has spent $104,500 on environmental studies, permits and project management. To complete the park an additional $237,000 is needed for an estimated total of $341,000. Considering back in 2008 the initial cost of building this park was estimated to be $100,000 the budget for this project is clearly mismanaged. The small group of people who support the BMX park do not adequately represent the rest of the community. The majority of the community members would neither use nor benefit from the BMX park. According to Lafayette's General Plan, the Lafayette Community Park's proposed recreation and park facilities include "North end improvements
ncluding family picnic sites, restrooms, multi- use trails, nature areas, open lawn play areas, other active recreational uses. A wetland nature area is proposed for the central area and a trails system throughout the park."(IV-3) No where does the city have plans for a special interest project like the BMX park. Under the plans for future parks trails and recreation facilities the city highlights that with the growing demographic of younger children "there will be a persistent need for additional playing fields for soccer, baseball, roller hockey and lacrosse... The City lacks adequate funds for all needed parks, trails and recreation improvements identified in this plan." (IV-4) The City of Lafayette claims that there is no funding, yet over $100,000 has already been spent just in planning this special interest project. The Lafayette City Council has neglected to follow the goals and policies outlined in the General Plan. Furthermore where has the money already spent on this project come from? Considering the majority of people that will use the BMX park will be children- who do not pay taxes the burden of paying for this special interest park will be left for the tax payers. In addition there is no explicit plan as to where the revenue needed to maintain the park will come from. Instead of succumbing to the demands of the few, the Lafayette City Council needs to acknowledge the concerns of the many.

Not to mention what happens in the future? What happens when there is not enough revenue to maintain the BMX park? What happens when the fad passes and kids lose interest in the park? What happens during the rainy winter months and hot summers? Or the seven hours a day 5 days per week that kids are in school? The number of people that will use the park and their availability to use it results in a park that is not worth building.

Construction of a BMX park will destroy rare, threatened, or endangered species habitat. Construction of a BMX park is inconsistent with the natural landscape and passive recreational activities currently enjoyed by the majority of park users. A BMX park provides for the needs of a single special interest group and does not serve the greater recreational needs of the community. A BMX park will require future maintenance increasing the strain on the City's limited budget and overwhelming the recreation departments limited maintenance staff. A BMX park subjects the City of Lafayette to increased risk of lawsuits due to injuries that could cost the City, and it's tax payers hundreds of thousands of dollars.

I urge the City Council to act responsibly and stop the proposed development of a BMX Park. Protect the limited open space that is integral to the ambiance of the community and exercise sound financial planning by not committing the City and it citizens to future obligations we can't afford.

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