OXFORD – Oxford-area bikers who like to defy gravity will soon have a new place to launch themselves.
A $478,000 construction job began last week at FNC Park that will add a five-turn BMX track, a three-quarter-mile walking trail, a pedestrian bridge and 64 additional parking spaces. A federal grant will pay for $299,000 of the project, with the city picking up the rest of the cost. The 150-day contract started early this month.
“I really expect it to be done by the end of the year, unless we have a lot of bad weather,” said City Engineer Bart Robinson.
The BMX track and walking trail were originally included in Phase 2 of the Oxford Pathways plan, which will eventually add several miles of bike lanes along major thoroughfares and connect most of the city’s schools and parks, including FNC Park, which was built outside the city on land donated for the project along Old Sardis Road.
When Phase 2 of the Pathways plans was first advertised, all bids came in considerably over the estimated cost. Engineers and other city officials have been studying changes to cut its costs even as prices for energy and many materials have been rising.
“As work gets under way, we are still waiting for permission to advertise for Phase 2, which will be bringing bike lanes out to the park,” Mike Mossing, chairman of the Oxford Pathways Commission, told the Oxford Eagle.
One other gift to bike riders may be in the works as well. Last week, aldermen agreed for the city to apply for a Bikes Belong grant for up to $5,000 to build a small biking area – to be used possibly both for BMX and as a place for the Oxford Police Department to teach skills to novice bicyclists.
Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal