Residents voice concerns as plan for $2.3 million dirt bike track move forward

Residents voice concerns as plan for $2.3 million dirt bike track move forward
Published: May. 12, 2017 at 2:00 AM EDT|Updated: May. 12, 2017 at 5:48 AM EDT
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A rendering of the city's dirt bike track. (Source: City of Cleveland)
A rendering of the city's dirt bike track. (Source: City of Cleveland)

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Plans to build a $2.3 million dollar dirt bike track in Cleveland continue to move forward in spite of plenty of opposition.

Thursday night, people on the east side made it known they don't want this in their neighborhood.

City council passed the dirt bike track back in January.

They say they're trying to solve the problem of people riding ATVs and dirt bikes illegally up and down city streets.

But some people don't think this is going to fix anything, and that it will just create more problems.

Representatives from Mayor Frank Jackson's office met with people from the Hyacinth neighborhood in the Slavic village area.

But they were interrupted as the meeting started.

"Put it in Jackson's backyard," someone yelled. "Yeah! Put it in his backyard," other people chimed in.

City officials went on to explain more about the dirt bike park.

They say it will also be for BMX bikes, skateboards and rollerblades.

The park will be fenced in, with over 100 feet of woods separating it from people's homes near E. 73rd Street and Kinsman.

They addressed noise concerns, saying the track will be monitored by an operator, to keep it contained to city-approved sound levels.

Councilmember Phyllis Cleveland supports the idea.

"People love to ride, and they don't have an outlet or place to ride, so I think we're going to give people an amenity for those who really want to learn how to ride and ride properly," she said.

But Councilmember Zack Reed voted against it.

"Will it help? We can look at it, we can evaluate it. But right now we need more police officers, more surveillance cameras, more after school programs. This money could be used for those type of things," he said.

Some neighbors who live close to the park questioned why they could not vote on the plan themselves.

Janice Flauto says she's had enough of people riding illegally on her street.

"It's getting out of control, and it's getting to the point that it's a safety issue. You can't walk on the sidewalks without wondering, 'oh my God, is a bike going to come on the sidewalk and hit me?'" she said.

Flauto grew up riding ATVs herself in the country. But she did not ride them on the street.

She doesn't think the park will solve anything.

"My mom's been on this street for over 40 years and it's getting to the point where it's really a danger for everybody," Flauto said.

City officials said they're coming up with a plan to enforce illegal bikes on the streets.

We reached out to Mayor Frank Jackson for an interview, but he declined.

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