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updated: 7/25/2014 6:47 PM

Elgin will be looking for new operators for BMX track

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  • Elgin's BMX track closed abruptly after its operators had their sanctioning agreement revoked by the national governing body.

      Elgin's BMX track closed abruptly after its operators had their sanctioning agreement revoked by the national governing body.
    Daily Herald archive/Brian Hill

 
 

Elgin's BMX track closed abruptly after its operators had their sanctioning agreement revoked by the national governing body.

Jim Barton said he found out Thursday that USA BMX made the move, which caught he and his wife, Jenna, off-guard.

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"They kept telling us, we're not going to pull your sanction," he said. "Next thing you know, they did."

Brad Hallin, senior track director at USA BMX, issued a statement saying, "USA BMX has received numerous complaints about the track under current management, and USA BMX policies with regards to remitting paperwork and funds in a timely manner has been ignored."

Barton said he isn't sure how much money he and his wife owe to USA BMX, but much of the debt was leftover from the previous track operator.

He also insisted they mailed all required paperwork, in some cases multiple times.

USA BMX Track Director Cody Wilson expressed skepticism.

"Out of 380 tracks around the country, we don't really run into situations where we don't receive (paperwork), much less a second or third time," he said.

Wilson declined to say how much money the Bartons owe the organization.

USA BMX will be working with the city of Elgin to sanction a new track operator, Wilson said.

In an earlier interview with the Daily Herald, the Bartons acknowledged the challenges of running the track, known as "The Hill."

The couple, which took over its operation in the fall, said they were trying to rebuild ridership at the track, which was constructed in 1990 and is in need of repairs.

The track is the only independently operated portion of the Elgin Sports Complex, which is managed by the city's parks and recreation department.

Barton said city officials changed the locks at the track and told them they would be allowed to retrieve their personal items under supervision.

Elgin Recreation and Facilities Superintendent Maria Cumpata said the city had no choice but to close The Hill on Thursday.

"Without fair sanctioning from USA BMX, they have no insurance and they are not track operators," she said. "It's not an easy operation to undertake and it is a lot of work. I think it had gotten to the point where there weren't a lot of volunteers (to help out)."

Cumpata said she found out last week that USA BMX wanted to revoke the Bartons' sanction, so she and Parks and Recreation Director Randy Reopelle began working on a plan of action.

A request for proposals from track operators will be issued; in the meantime, an Indiana-based track operator might be interested in operating the track in the short-term, she said.

"We have no plans to shut down the BMX track (permanently)," she said. "It's a great amenity for Elgin."

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