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Officials discuss building family bike track in West Milford
BY ANN GENADER
Benefits of family bicycling and the possibility of a future BMX racing facility in the Township of West Milford were discussed at the Feb. 15 meeting of the West Milford Economic Development Committee (EDC).
There was stress during a presentation by EDC member Jeffrey Mergler that bicycles only and no motorized vehicles are considered in the proposal. At the meeting with Mergler were Dave Van Wart from Team Town Cycle, West Milford, and Art Peterson from BMX and JORBA. They explained the benefits of family bicycling and the possibility of BMX racing in Northern New Jersey and its benefits.
The EDC members said they are looking forward to working with the various township boards and committees to put a plan together to be presented to the township council.
Councilman Michael Ramaglia, who is the township liaison person to the EDC, told Aim West Milford, "I am very proud of the progress the EDC is making and about the excitement of the members. We have a very diverse committee with people who have expertise in various areas to benefit our township."
Council President Joseph Smolinski told the West Milford Recreation Advisory Committee at their Feb. 17 meeting that he supports the ideas he heard at the EDC meeting about a family bicycling facility. "I’m sold on it (the idea of building a non-motorized track) and I think it will fly. There’s nothing official that has been submitted yet, just verbal conversation," he said.
Smolinski, township council liaison member to the WMRA, sees the family biking facility as "a big investment and a big asset for the township." He said some people are promoting the idea of going to the state of New Jersey for permission to build a non-motorized family bicycle track on the state-owned Jungle Habitat property.
Smolinski said that key issues include bringing in truck loads of soil for the track, cost and insurance. He wants there to be priority for use by local kids if the track is approved and built.
Smolinski said some approvals would be coming to the council down the line but JORBA would be seeking approvals at the state level first. He said on the local level applications, when submitted, would first be considered by the West Milford Environmental Commission (WMEC), the WMRA and then the township council.
Smolinski said vehicles on a BMX track are non-motorized. He recalled an effort some years ago with a plan with a track that would allowed motorized vehicles and said it died for lack of support with use by motorized vehicles being one of the objections.
Smolinski said that in addition to the main track there was talk of also building a "Pump Track" where the bikes would start at the top of a hill and go through a series of varied challenges. Mergler explained that this type of non-motorized facility is a continuous loop of dirt rollers with in sloped turns for people of all ages and skill levels. The name “Pump Track” comes from propulsion by cyclists using upper and lower body to navigate around the track without peddling to enhance bike skills.
He said the activity is all about providing a wholesome sport and helping and promoting local businesses. About 400 children would participate and their families and supporters would be there with them, said Smolinski.