A large number of BMX bike riders left Wednesday’s City Council meeting energized after they learned discussions will continue on a request to allow bikes at the Adelaide Skate Park.
The skatepark along North Hickory Street was designed for skateboards and past conflicts between those on bikes and skateboards prompted the city to erect a fence and turnstile last August to keep bikes out.
Council voted 5-1 Wednesday night to send the BMX-skatepark matter to the City’s Advisory Park Board. The Board meets Monday, May 20, at the City County Government Center.
“I feel good — I’m excited,” said BMX rider Ryan Rochwite.
Rochwite circulated a petition seeking access to the skatepark for BMX riders that received more than 500 signatures. Rochwite, dressed in a suit, spoke to the media after the meeting.
His petition asks for a trial period this summer that would allow skateboards and BMX bikes to use the Adelaide facility. Council decided the matter would be addressed by the Advisory Park Board — a board that issues advisory opinions. The City Council would consider the Park Board’s recommendation when making a final decision.
Jorge McCauley rode his skateboard from his home on Scott Street to the downtown meeting. He and several other skateboard enthusiasts had their boards with them inside Council chambers.
McCauley told council he would like to see his friends with bikes allowed in the park. He didn’t believe this would create problems.
“We’ve always gotten along with BMXers and we would like to say they are welcome there,” he said, adding that people on BMX bikes are continually at risk of “getting caught” riding in parking ramps and other public locations.
Nearly 40 people logged their support for continued discussions and, ultimately, a BMX trial in the skatepark. A handful of them spoke to Council.
Tim Weddle, who lives on Pioneer Parkway, said he has an active 8-year-old son that has found his “niche” in BMX bicycles. He said he would appreciate it if his son could visit the Adelaide skatepark.
“Across the street they’re riding dirt bikes,” he said, noting that bikes are built for asphalt or for dirt. The track is used extensively for racing and dirt jumping — “altogether different” than the BMX bikes used to perform tricks.
Fond du Lac Police Department officials said there have been conflicts in the past between those on skateboards and those on bikes at the park. Police are gathering information from other communities that allow BMX bikes and skateboards to co-exist. The information is expected to be available for the Park Board meeting.
Council member Lee Ann Lorrigan said she was impressed by the turnout at the council meeting.
“I’m overwhelmingly in support of looking for options,” she said. “If rules are in place, maybe we can accommodate everybody. I would hate for council to just shut the door (on the proposal).”
Laurie Ritger may be reached at email@example.com or 907-7925.