By Jared Eborn
June 2011 – Utah has a rich cycling history with velodromes at Saltair, the Salt Palace, and other Utah locations attracting some of the sports biggest names in racing decades ago.
Draper would like to bring some of that legacy back to life and is moving forward with plans for a multi-function velopark that could become the focus of Utah’s cycling community.
With a velodrome, a cyclocross park, a criterium course and a BMX/mountain bike skills course, the Draper Cycle Park could attract as many as 100,000 visitors per year and provide a year-round training and racing facility used by cyclists of all types. In addition to the cycling focus, the Draper Cycle Park – which will be built next to the existing Equestrian Park near the popular Corner Canyon mountain biking trail system – will have an inline skating, handcycling, a climbing wall, a playground and concessions to make the park as multi-functional as possible.
In a brochure prepared by Draper City, Mayor Darrell H. Smith touted the benefits of the facility to not only Draper but also the entire Utah cycling community.
“The Cycle Park will be a tremendous addition to the community of Draper,” Smith said. “The city has already built innercity cycling and hiking trails that link together and access the Corner Canyon Regional Park, more than 1,000 acres of open space in the foothills of southeast Draper. This park will host national and international events and attract visitors from around the world.”
The proposed velodrome will be the focal point of the park and will be a UCI-sanctioned 250-meter facility that might attract numerous national and potentially international events. The altitude of the Salt Lake Valley is ideal for record breaking rides. The outdoor facility will be constructed with concrete and, because it will not come with a roof and the associated costs, will be significantly less expensive to build and maintain than an indoor velodrome.
The price tag for the facility, which will be built in phases and has a target completion date of Summer 2014, is $3.35 million. The largest chunk of the project was a $6.36 million land-acquisition purchase in 2009.
The velodrome would likely be used on most days of the week for training. The proposed criterium course could easily become home to a weekly race series and host numerous weekend events. The velodrome will feature a connector so that criterium races could finish on the track. As calendar turns and the temperatures drop, the cyclocross course would extend the park’s use through the fall and winter months as Utah’s cyclists put the skinny tires away and break out their knobby tires in search of alternate training and competitive fixes.
With a connecter to the already popular Corner Canyon trails, the Draper Cycle Park would serve cyclists of all varieties throughout the year.
““It sounds like a great facility and I know people in Utah will get plenty of use out of it,” said former Olympic speedskating medalist and Olympian in track racing Chris Witty. “It’s such a healthy and fit culture. It would be awesome if you could get a velodrome built. Speedskating and track cycling have been my passions my whole life so for me it’s like a dream come true to have both venues at the same location.”
Though blueprints and brochures are already to go, the funding is still a work in progress.
The Salt Lake Velodrome Association (saltlakevelodrome.com) has partnered with Draper City to help fund the project. Canyon Bicycles of Draper has donated $50,000, as has the Bunny Bradley Memorial fund.
For more information on how to help the project, visit www.DraperCyclePark.com or call (801) 576-6527.