Thursday, June 3, 2010

Fresno County Report criticizes Orange Cove BMX park

The bicycle motocross park in Orange Cove is seldom used, plagued by financial problems and hasn’t benefited children who live in the impoverished community, according to a report released today by the Fresno County grand jury.

City officials said the BMX park, which opened more than three years ago, would boost Orange Cove's economy by hosting national events. But the city doesn’t have sufficient hotels, recreational vehicle parks or restaurants to host the number of people who attend such events, the report said.

In addition, the grand jury found that BMX competitions are costly, so few, if any, Orange Cove children could take part. Twelve competition bikes were donated to the city for children to use, but those bicycles were either stolen or sold, the report said.

The grand jury said the city received a state grant of $490,000 to build the BMX park near the high school. But the state "has not paid the city for money spent because of lack of financial and construction documentation," the report said.

The BMX park also was built without a competitive bidding process because city leaders passed an emergency declaration, the report said. Emergency declarations are typically reserved for essential city services such as water, waste water and fire protection, the report noted.

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