By Conrad Dudderar
In a close vote, the Yukon City Council this week granted a request to co-sign for a loan to make upgrades at Yukon’s BMX track facility.
The council, by a 3-2 vote, agreed to back the $100,000 loan for the Yukon BMX Raceway at the City of Yukon-owned Taylor Park, 410 N 11th.
Ward 1 City Council Member Rodney Zimmerman and Vice Mayor Jeff Wootton cast dissenting votes.
Yukon BMX officer Drea Shouse said funds will be used toward improvements to the track, with new asphalt turns (to replace dirt) being the top priority.
Shouse told council members the $100,000 loan will be repaid “as soon as possible … between two to five years.”
Council Member Zimmerman explained why he voted no Tuesday night.
“I am for having the BMX track and helping them in any way the city can,” Zimmerman said. “I do not feel the city should cosign loans.”
Zimmerman said he realizes the City of Yukon owns the Taylor Park property and is not being asked to fund any of the upgrades.
“But if we cosign for one group then really it’s hard, if not impossible, to say ‘no’ to other groups,” he added.
Yukon BMX Raceway officials shared with the Yukon City Council this prioritized project list and estimated costs:
- Asphalt turns – $55,000
- Limestone track surface – $7,600
- Track/grounds fencing – $12,000-$15,000
- Concrete sidewalk (west end) – $6,500
- Sod and grass seed – $7,000
- Additional track lighting – $1,000
- Timing system coax and loop – $500
- Building/concessions area expansion – $45,000
- Updated concession equipment – $10,000
Yukon BMX will combine the $100,000 loan with monies generated from hosting races to pay for these improvements.
Having the loan will expedite the process “so that we can enjoy them and bring in larger crowds for the bigger races sooner,” Shouse told council members before Tuesday’s vote was taken.
Projects will start once the loan is approved, she added.
“As soon as we can get reasonable contractors to come out and reliable, trustworthy people to do the work,” Shouse said. “We already have quite a few bids from several different companies. We’re ready to pull triggers over there.
“In our history of being there, this is our best season yet. We’re really thinking it’s going to continue that momentum and take off from there.”
Shouse believes making these updates will attract more competitors – many from outside Oklahoma – to Yukon for large tournaments, thus increasing the city’s sales tax base.
“We bring in several hundred thousand dollars to the city each year,” she pointed out. “We’re not asking for any money. We’re just asking for the backing that we’re good for.
“We’ve been in that park for 21 years. We’re not going anywhere.”
Total estimated economic impact for 2022 was $331,888.50, according to a survey of 200 families who visited the Yukon BMX Raceway.
The Yukon City Council reviewed statistics showing that Yukon BMX hosted 4,873 riders from 129 cities and 16 states in 2022.
Some 1,489 (30.56%) of all riders were from Yukon, with 16.83% from Oklahoma City and 6.57% from Edmond.
USA BMX national events typically attract 800-2,000 athletes per weekend with daily attendance totaling 3,300-7,500 riders and spectators.
“My family travels all over the nation racing in national races,” Shouse said. “I have seen so many cities just thriving because they have a BMX track in their city – the city literally paying hundreds of thousands to a million dollars to get a BMX track in their city because they see the value that it can bring.
“We’re not just a pile of dirt in the back of Taylor Park. Right now, we’re ranked number three in the region of 91 tracks – and number six in the nation of almost 300. We’re a big deal and we bring a lot of value to the city.”
The Yukon City Council previously approved cosigning loans for Yukon’s BMX track – and they were repaid, according to City Manager Tammy Kretchmar.
In 2004, the City of Yukon guaranteed repayment of $25,000 that Yukon National Bank loaned the Yukon BMX Riders and Parents Association to construct a concession stand, office and restroom facility.
Mayor Shelli Selby, Ward 3 Council Member Donna Yanda and Ward 4 Council Member Aric Gilliland voted yes to cosign the $100,000 loan this week.
“We’ve never had a problem with them paying the note,” Yanda said. “It would expedite the projects and the completion of them.”
Gilliland referred to other improvements the City of Yukon has paid for at Taylor Park.
“There’s advantages to working with private groups (like Yukon BMX) to bring people to our city, definitely,” Gilliland said.
“We’ve got to protect our taxpayers too.”
Gilliland suggested structuring the loan so 50% must be paid back within 12 months – with the total amount due in five years.
“A lot of those specific terms will be up to the financial institution where the loan is taken out since you all are simply stepping in as a guarantor,” city attorney Roger Rinehart told the city council, in response to Gilliland.
“You could request that they put those terms in there, but you don’t have any control over whether the bank accepts it.”
Shouse indicated she anticipates this $100,000 loan will be paid off early – perhaps well before five years.
“None of us like to have debt; we don’t like to owe anybody anything,” she said. “It will get paid off as soon as possible. It will get paid off, as much money as we can every month. Most of the time, more than whatever the minimum payment would be.
“In addition, every time we have a big race weekend, we would be able to pay a larger chunk – $15,000, $20,000, $30,000 – from that weekend.”
Taylor Park is City of Yukon property and all improvements made by the Yukon BMX group will remain, Mayor Selby noted.