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City council committee hearing on dirt bike park

Posted at 9:16 PM, Mar 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-09 21:16:26-05

A process that's been months in the making got its first official start Wednesday evening as a Baltimore City Council Committee met to discuss how a dirt bike park could be brought to Baltimore.

It's more than a novel idea, according to Baltimore City Councilman Pete Welch, chief sponsor of the legislation to examine the issue.

Thursday's hearing was before the council's Recreation and Parks Committee.

Last summer started a debate over just what to do with dirt bikers in the city after police were called to their weekly rides on Reisterstown Road near Druid Hill Park.

The run-ins brought renewed focus to the issue, and spurred Welch to begin talks with interested parties including the mayor, the police department and dirt bike riders.

The result, he said, is what he envisions to be a "wheel park."

"We're looking at more of a wheel park than a dirt bike park because we're looking for not just dirt bike competition, but BMX, skateboarding, remote control cars, things that are wheels," Welch said before the hearing.

The executive director of the American Motorcyclist Association, a national legal advocacy group for dirt bike riders, was expected to provide testimony at the hearing, Welch said.

No site has been selected as a possible venue nor have any decisions been made about where the money would come from.

Welch said he plans to travel with a group to New Jersey later this month to further examine the issue by visiting a dirt bike park there.