The Wichita City Council has awarded a Wichita park $50,000 for improvements.
Emery Park BMX, located near East MacArthur and South Hydraulic Ave., received the money through a neighborhood improvement grant made available by the sale of the Hyatt.
“That means everything to us. For us, $50,000 doesn’t come often,” said “We can bring everything up to speed,” said Emery Park BMX and GEAR Inc. President J.D. Oliver.
Oliver, who was one of the first people to race on the Emery Park track in the 1980’s, said the grant money will go toward a new gate, a bigger and better track, additional lighting, and upgrades to the park’s security system.
“We will have new monitored surveillance. We have talked with the city and the Wichita police force,” Oliver said. “They have come out and done a full park assessment of the security risk out here, how to increase privacy out here as well as keeping it open to the public, keep the park in just a better condition for everybody.”
Some of the money will also go toward scholarships for local children who may not be able to afford to race. The scholarships was one of the reasons the city council awarded Emery Park BMX the neighborhood improvement grant.
“Especially in south and southeast Wichita, we have some areas of town that are a little bit in the declining area of town. When you provide this sort of opportunity for kids that may be living in poverty, can’t afford that opportunity, it is a real big dea,” said Wichita District III City Council Member James Clendenin.
“It’s certainly a positive outlet,” Oliver said.
One racer KSN spoke with on Monday agreed with Oliver.
“It has taught me discipline, respect,” said Dominique Salisbury.
Salisbury, 17, has raced BMX for about five years. He said it’s not only taught him respect for others, but he’s learned to respect himself. Salisbury said BMX has helped him stay on the right path.
“It’s probably kept me out of trouble for awhile because you are not out doing other stuff that’s illegal or anything. You’re out here just enjoying your time and it’s a fun place to be,” Salisbury said.
The upgrades to Emery Park BMX are expected to be completed by then end of July.
The Hyatt sale money has also gone toward several projects including, but not limited to road improvements, the restoration of the Dunbar Theater and the purchase of new hangar for Doc the B-29 Super fortress.