Cleveland City Council Postpones Vote on Motorcross Park
by Nick Castele
Cleveland City Council has postponed a vote on whether to build a motorcross park on the city’s East Side. The $2 million project would have funded a course for motorized dirt bikes in Marion Motley Park, in the Garden Valley area of the city’s Kinsman neighborhood.
But the plan faced vocal opposition from several council members, who questioned why this park would receive funds while they waited for improvements at other parks in their wards.
Council President Kevin Kelley agreed to keep the legislation in committee for more discussion later in the year.
It’s not uncommon in Cleveland for young people to get together and ride dirt bikes and ATVs down city streets, popping wheelies as they drive.
Community relations director Blaine Griffin told council the city’s been talking with riders for a few years now. Over that time, he said, he’s also learned about the culture of competitive biking—on closed courses.
“This culture led us to really engage and to begin to talk about what we could do in order to try to do some things in order to get some of the bike riders off the streets in order to try to find a safe place for them to go,” Griffin said.
He pitched the project as a way to “professionalize” the world of street biking, teaching people such skills as engine repair.
Even Mayor Frank Jackson’s grandson is involved in biking. Councilwoman Phyllis Cleveland, whose ward would include the track, said the project was about more than just one person.
“That’s one young man,” Cleveland said. “There are hundreds, and maybe thousands, and young people and not-so-young people who are involved in this. So it’s not about the mayor’s grandson, it’s about all of our young people.”