Board studies Cycle Speedway

Published 10:01 am Monday, June 21, 2010

GATESVILLE – If things go as planned, the children of Gates County could soon enjoy a unique facility.

At their meeting earlier this month, the Gates County Board of Commissioners heard a proposal from County 4-H Agent Ricky Winebarger in regards to the construction of a Cycle Speedway at the Gates County Community Center.

Although the commissioners tabled the issue in order to gain more information about providing insurance coverage for such a facility, the board members were intrigued by the idea.

“We’re trying to get some more activities for the children here in Gates County and one of the activities we are looking at is a bicycle club,” Winebarger said. “The children need a safe place to ride their bikes and a place to learn bicycle safety.”

Winebarger said he had contacted Brian White of Cycle Speedway of Edenton, adding that he had previously worked with White through the Boy Scouts in Chowan County. He also contacted Lulu Eure at the Gates County Community Center in regards to possibly providing space for the proposed cycle speedway.

“Brian is willing to work with us in educating the children on bicycle safety,” Winebarger said. “I’m coming to you for permission to see if you will approve the use of land at the Community Center for the purpose of a cycle speedway and promoting bicycle safety for the children of Gates County.”

“Are you looking at putting jumps there or is it just an oval track,” Commissioner Kenny Jernigan inquired.

“It’s an oval dirt track,” Eure replied.

Commissioner Carlton Nickens wanted to ensure and it was confirmed that this was a bicycle track and not one for use by motorized vehicles.

“The cycle speedway over in Edenton has had a very good turnout of children,” Winebarger noted.

Commissioner Wade Askew inquired of who would be responsible for building the track, possibly having this as a 4-H project.

“It really could work out that way,” Winebarger said. “I’ve already have a good (4-H) leader trained for starting a bicycle club. She is a teacher over at the high school. Now it’s just a matter of once we know we can move forward with having a track at the Community Center we can start recruiting kids for the club.”

“It’s a unique recreational outlet for the children,” White stressed. “We have baseball, basketball and football and other traditional sports, whereas a bicycle track is unique. We go after the kids, but do not limit ourselves to, who do not participate in traditional sports.”

Jernigan asked Eure if she had checked into the insurance requirements of having such a facility at the Community Center.

“I have not, but with the track being dirt, and not pavement, I can’t see any big change,” Eure said.

Jernigan also asked if the children using the track would be required to use helmets and if there would be signage, noting responsibility of those using the facility. It was affirmed both would be in place.

Board Chairman Graham Twine asked what would have to be done to get the area at the Community Center up to par for use as a bicycle track. Eure answered by saying that the area was now grass and basically all that needed to be done was to kill the grass and create a dirt oval.

“It’s a place back there that we don’t use for anything else,” Eure noted. “All we do back there now is cut the grass.”

“My only concern is the insurance; we need to talk to our agent to make sure that adding this is covered under our policy,” County Manager Toby Chappell stated. “You can give your approval to this contingent upon it being covered under our insurance policy.”

Winebarger noted that the children enrolled as members in the Gates County 4-H Club are covered under 4-H insurance.

“It’s those who are not that are of my concern,” Chappell said.

“I think this is a good thing to pursue pending the results of the insurance (coverage),” Commissioner Henry Jordan said.

Nickens suggested tabling the issue until the board’s next meeting in order to get a full report on the insurance. That idea was acceptable among the commissioners.

In the meantime, Winebarger is in the process of scheduling a meeting with county officials to work out additional details. That meeting is tentatively scheduled for next week.