Dominick Rufo came up with the idea of constructing a BMX bike park in Turlock when he was 14 years old. Rufo, now almost 17, saw his plan approved by Turlock City Council in February. The park, however, will not be built until $10,000 of private funding has been secured for the project.
David “DJ” Fransen got involved in the project when Rufo and Matt Nascimento, owner of Bike Works, contacted him for help developing the proposal and planning the park. Fransen and other supporters of the park have set a tentative goal of this Friday to collect the entire $10,000.
Rick Harden, public facilities maintenance manager, made a report about the status of the BMX park at Tuesday’s City Council meeting. He said that, so far, $6,500 has been turned in to the city for the project. But the actual amount of funds collected so far is $7,500, as Fransen was given a donation check for another $1,000 but was not able to turn it in before the city closed on Tuesday.
Kim Rufo, Dominick’s mother, thinks that the $10,000 goal can be met by the end of this week. She has been keeping track of donations to the project and said that she is confident the group can raise the money.
Recent economic problems have put a slow down on donations.
“Now $100 donations are hard for most people,” Fransen said.
Dominick said he is glad that so much money has been donated, but it isn’t over until they have the full $10,000 and the park is built.
“I’m glad that (the City Council) said yes to it and that we’re getting closer and closer to getting it,” Rufo said.
The Turlock Bike Park will be located on the corner of Paseo De Leon and Panorama Avenue. The football field sized lot will have dirt berms and jumps where riders can do tricks. The natural jumps are meant to mimic structures like canal banks, Fransen said. The Turlock City Council agreed in February to set aside $15,000 from the City’s park fund, to pay for dirt berms, fencing, a gate, bench, and water fountain.
The project was initially opposed by the Turlock Unified School District, whose Walnut Elementary Center is adjacent to the bike park. But the Turlock City Council came up with a new set of rules for the park, including restrictions on hours of operation, allay the District’s fears of disruptive bike park users. The park will be fenced and the gate will be locked until 3:45 p.m. on school days.
Fransen is hopeful that the project will move forward some time this summer. Donations can be made at Bike Works on Center Street, or directly to the City of Turlock.
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