How to Get a Pumptrack in Your Neighborhood Park.
Pumptracks are great fun, but unfortunately not yet as prevalent as they should be. We want to help fix that. 😁
The cost of even the most basic dirt pumptrack can be prohibitive for most families, so we wanted to write a post about what you can do to get a pumptrack close to you.
No two pumptrack projects come together in exactly the same way, so the advice below is not necessarily a sequential order. For some, the pumptrack started with a group of similarly-minded pumptrack-loving folks expressing and pursuing a need. For others, the project was initiated by their local parks and recreation department or municipality.
We encourage you to think of each section as part of the process you’ll encounter at some point, but it may not be in the order presented, and many parts may overlap.
Most importantly, we hope you’re successful in your endeavors to bring the pump closer to you.
1. Reach out to your local parks department, council or municipality official.
One of your first moves is to call or email your local parks' department, council or municipality office. Explain to them that you’re interested in learning how you can petition for the installation of a pumptrack at your local park, and you’d like to learn more about what you can do to lead that effort.
Most parks and municipalities have strategic plans with specific goals that guide new projects and funding. It’s important to understand their goals so that you can demonstrate how installing a pumptrack at your neighborhood park will help them achieve these goals.
Their reply will normally detail the process for public improvement projects and requests, and open up an important line of communication where you can take your future questions.
2. Organize a committee or group of like-minded people also interested in building a pumptrack nearby.
Organizing a group of like-minded individuals that also want a neighborhood pumptrack is important to achieving liftoff.
Think about it: if one person approaches a park or municipality to encourage them to invest in a pumptrack, the park or municipality officials may not take too much notice. If a group of people with a common interest approaches those same folks, they’ll probably pay a bit more attention.
Their goal is to guarantee as much fun per euro (or dollar, or local currency) spent for as many people as possible. More people creates a more persuasive argument.
Developing a pumptrack for Brian Wick from Medina, Ohio was the direct result of being surrounded by a like-minded community.
It began when Brian created a small pumptrack on his property to enjoy with his kids.
Can you guess what happened next?
Not surprisingly, his kid’s friends would frequent their yard to take advantage of the track, and Brian’s friends also became habitual visitors. Eventually, the pumptrack became an attraction in and of itself, with visitors coming from as far away as Australia and Redbull contacting them to host an event.
This tightly-knit, passionate community would eventually compel and support Brian and girlfriend Lynn Kollar to spearhead the development of “Wick’s Outlaw Trails” at nearby Austin Badger Park, that would ultimately include a pumptrack.
Here are some suggestions for how to assemble your group:
- Neighbors. You’re petitioning for a neighborhood pumptrack, so including neighbors in the group further illustrates local interest and endorsement.
- Bicycling advocacy groups. In the US, visit BMX track or IMBA.com to find your local chapter. Besides these groups, there are groups even more local to your area. A good idea is to Google your city, your county or your region + (specific type of sport) advocacy group to get connected. These valuable advocates often possess powerful research to build your case, reducing your legwork.
- Local bicycle, athletic and sports shops. These businesses have a vested interest in backing local pumptracks because it makes them look good AND it's good for their bottom line.
Quick tip: the more local you can make your pumptrack advocacy team, the better your chances of getting a pumptrack built in your neighborhood park.
For example, if you start by reaching out to all the bike shops in your city, you may lose out on location as a natural result of people looking at possible locations all over the city. While any pumptrack build is a good thing, start by reaching out to those close first to get a pumptrack closer to you before expanding your reach.
3. Build Your Case.
The people that approve of funding a local pumptrack want to know what kinds of benefits they can expect from their investment. Taking the time to research and develop a comprehensive proposal will answer these questions for them, but also show how committed you are to the cause. We encourage you to check out the links to other parts of our blog below, and here are some questions to get you started.
- What benefits does a pumptrack bring to the local economy?
- Who will benefit from a pumptrack installation?
- What are the benefits of a pumptrack? (We actually have two articles on this, one for modular pumptracks and one for pumptracks in general.)
Besides referencing the strategic and functional plans, look up statistics on bike ridership and what kinds of dollars bike tourism brings to your region or aspirational competitive region.
Once you’ve assembled your case, create a presentation that you can use when you meet with city or local officials. Here is a great example of a pumptrack presentation created by the Rogue Valley Mountain Biking Association and presented to their local Parks and Recreation Department in Southern Oregon.
4. Organize or attend a meeting with officials who oversee your local park improvements.
Most public project proposals are subject to one or several public meetings.
The first type of meeting typically provides an opportunity for groups to submit projects for consideration. This is where your group has the chance to deliver your presentation. After presenting, council members or the parks and recreation board will ask questions about everything we’re covering in this post and more. Be as prepared as possible and get as many people to attend so you visually demonstrate your group’s interest and commitment.
If you’re lucky enough to have subsequent meetings, these forums will continue to address official and community feedback regarding the pumptrack project. Prepare for these meetings in the same way as you did when first presenting your project by doing research, creating additional compelling arguments, bringing your group, and by being willing to work with others to problem-solve concerns.
5. How to fund your pumptrack.
One item that will need to be addressed almost immediately is how you’ll fund the pumptrack and pay for its ongoing maintenance.
There are two ways to fund a pumptrack:
- Public funds. All cities, counties or municipalities have budgets. A certain portion of their funds are allocated towards public space improvements. Your job is to do a little digging; research what your local council’s priorities and goals are when it comes to infrastructure and investment (see #1). If you can find clear connections between public plans and desired outcomes with the installation of pumptrack, make this crystal clear in your proposal.
- Private funds. Another major, and often more common way to fund the track is through private fundraising. This is often due to dwindling or limited public funds. Private funds can range from small individual donations to large chunks of cash from non-profit organizations.
So where to get started to raise money for your pumptrack? Here’s a list of potential donors and general ideas to get the idea-making machine going (there’s a lot of crossover between these ideas and where to find committee members):
- Pool financial commitments from committee members. Local officials love when stakeholders have skin in the game. Even a small amount shows a demonstrated interest. Funding a track 50/50 from private and public money is common.
- Local MBT, BMX biking or other adventure sports groups. These groups will usually help financially for the same reasons they’re good committee members: they have a vested interest in building systems that support their respective sport. Their membership is a niche interest group that can be tapped for donations.
- Local biking or adventure sports shops. This is the “sponsored by Bob’s Tavern” employee baseball team idea. Your neighborhood cycling store would probably be honored to sponsor the new pumptrack, especially if it gives them good press and a chance to champion their interests in the community in a permanent way.
- These three non-profit organizations. These groups are dedicated to improving cycling infrastructure and offer grants: PeopleForBikes, IMBA and Outride (non-profit organization started by Specialized founder and CEO).
- Local service groups committed to improving their communities. Think of organizations like The Rotary Club, The Lions, Kiwanis and the Elks, but inevitably there are many more depending on your specific location.
- Perpetual GoFundMe or similar online capital campaign. We discovered the Wick’s Outlaw Trail when we stumbled upon their perpetual GoFundMe. This is a fantastic way to let those who love the track continue to invest in its maintenance, improvement and operational costs. Reading through donor comments (see screenshot below), it struck us that those who don’t have a basic online fundraising page like this are missing out on a valuable “set it and forget it” opportunity to continuously raise money for their cause.
- Events. Again, taking a page out of Brian and Lynn’s book, hosting events is a great way to bring awareness and money to your project - both for a future track, or for future project improvements.
Remember: your local park’s department will be more motivated to invest in your project if you raise funds on your own.
6. Hire the right pumptrack vendor to maximize your budget and minimize your maintenance (us, of course).
You’ve budgeted and gotten approval for a pumptrack - congratulations! The hardest work is now behind you.
For most people, installing a pumptrack at your closest park means that you aren’t going to have the world’s largest pumptrack. In fact, you’re probably in the market for a smaller or more compact pumptrack, and one that won’t break the bank.
This is where PARKITECT’s pumptracks really shine. Here’s why:
- Our tracks can be installed in a space as small as 10x20m(about 35x70 feet), but can also be gigantic.
- While many pumptrack projects cost hundreds of thousands of dollars (and while we still think this money is well spent!) our prices start at just around 20'000 Euros. Read more information about our pumptrack pricing here.
- Our tracks are modular, so just like the City of Burnside in Australia trialed one of our modular pumptracks to determine the best permanent location, your city can do the same, or move them to different parks in a rotation.
- Our tracks can also be installed permanently, landscaped into the surrounding scenery.
- PARKITECT’s pumptrack surfaces - composite fiberglass or precast concrete - are ideal for minimizing maintenance nightmares and costs, primarily because they aren’t prone to erosion, such as with a dirt track.
You can read about all the benefits of a modular pumptrack here, but the biggest point we’re trying to get across is our pumptracks are ideal for pocket parks; they are compact, relatively inexpensive and low-maintenance.
High-Quality Pumptracks from an Experienced Vendor
We also offer the experience you want in a pumptrack vendor and in pumptrack construction. We’ve built pumptracks for 15+ years, and we’d love to make sure your pumptrack dreams are realized.
There’s nothing worse than going through this whole process only to pay for unexpected change orders or hiring someone else altogether. We know because we’ve been that second pumptrack vendor.
Save yourself some time; hire us first.