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City begins process for Mirra-inspired action park

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Dan Sieg, BMX Athlete, throws his arms away from the handle bars during a stunt at the Extreme Skate Park, Saturday afternoon. Greenville is well on its way to create an action sports park to bolster local BMX and skateboarding communities, increase tourism and honor the legacy of Dave Mirra.

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By Seth Thomas Gulledge
The Daily Reflector

Monday, September 24, 2018

Greenville is well on its way to create an action sports park to bolster local BMX and skateboarding communities, increase tourism and honor the legacy of Dave Mirra. 

The park is envisioned to boast amenities including a BMX park, a skate park, wakeboarding facility, camping sites, hiking trails and access to the Tar River for kayaking and canoeing. 

According to Assistant City Manager Michael Cowin, who gave a presentation during the September city council workshop session, the city has already performed a site evaluation for the park. The study, performed by Stuart Designs, looked at five potential locations for the park, and a detailed analysis is to be presented to council in the coming months. 

Cowin did not specify what locations were being considered by the city, but said finding the right location was meant to activate the local community. 

“We know that Greenville has a long history with BMX and Skateboarding in the city,” he said. “It’s important that we continue to nurture that history and grow those communities.”

In January, the city council voted unanimously to approve a list of priorities and goals. Included in those goals was progress in the Tar River Legacy Plan, which lists this kind of recreational facility as a primary project.

Cowin said a site that connected the north and south side of the Tar River would be the most ideal, but the results on the analysis would have to be considered. Access to the river would also be a priority for kayak and canoe access. 

To fund the project, the city currently has $412,000 allocated in the Recreation and Parks department capitol improvements budget. Cowin said actual cost of the project will vary based on site selection and design but about $1 million was a safe estimate for now. In addition to already controlled city funding, Cowin said they have received $115,000 from an unnamed beneficiary. 

The current plan is to leverage the existing funding as a match to a Parks and Recreation Trust Fund Grant (PARTF) which would bring total secured funding to $1,027,200. Cowin said he believes with “high probability” this grant could be secured by the city. He said he is confident the city can raise the needed funding for the park within a year. 

Working with the city on the project are representatives and family members of the recently deceased Dave Mirra. Mirra, a world-famous BMX rider who called Greenville home, died on Feb. 4 2016. 

“Wrapped around this sports sport park is the Mirra Legacy,” Cowin said. “In many ways he inspired BMX riders worldwide.” “As a part of this action sports park we want to make sure that legacy lives on.”

He said conversations with Mirra’s family and representatives would continue with the project. He said they hope to engage the international BMX community in support of the project in Mirra’s memory. 

The overall project would be designed in two phases. The first phase would include the skate and bmx facilities, as well as parking, restroom and concession facilities. The second phase of the project would include the other listed amenities. 

According to Cowin, pending council review, the city would begin land acquisition and design using the already secured funding. 

Contact Seth Gulledge at 252-329-9579 and sgulledge@reflector.com. Follow him on Twitter @GulledgeSeth

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