After years of planning and input from community members and young people, the vision of a new world-class BMX Park in southwest Fresno is now a reality.
Fresno Building Healthy Communities in partnership with the City of Fresno and California Skate Parks broke ground on Sept. 11 at a new BMX Park being built at Mary Ella Brown Community Center in southwest Fresno during a special ceremony.
“Youth in our city are calling for more and better parks which led to the launch of our #Parks4All campaign,” said Sandra Celedón, president and chief executive officer of Fresno Building Healthy Communities in a statement.
In May 2016, a 15,000-square-feet state-of-the-art Fresno Building Healthy Communities Skate Park opened at Romain Park in southeast Fresno.
“During the building of the Fresno BHC Skate Park at Romain, we heard directly from young people about the need of a new BMX park in their neighborhood,” Celedón said. “And we decided to take action to help fundraise and make this a reality.
In 2018, Fresno Building Healthy Communities, and coalition partners including Communities for a New California Education Fund, held several community meetings at Mary Ella Brown to hear directly from young people and BMXers about the design components of the new park.
At one of the BMX Park community planning meetings, young people and community members got a sneak peek of the new BMX Park’s design which was presented by representatives of California Skateparks and youth were able to provide additional feedback on the parks design before the plans were finalized.
“After receiving direct input from young people last year, we were able to design a world-class, state-of-the-art BMX park fit for beginners and BMX enthusiasts,” said Celedón.
Throughout the last two years, Fresno BHC worked directly with previous Fresno City Councilmember Oliver Baines and current councilmember Miguel Arias to pull together resources needed to complete the project, according to the organization.
At the groundbreaking ceremony representatives from California Assembly member Joaquin Arámbula and Senator Melissa Hurtado’s offices presented certificates of recognition to Fresno Building Healthy Communities for their dedication to bringing a monumental investment to southwest Fresno and acknowledged the community members and young people involved in the design process.
The $600,000 project was made possible thanks to funding support from Fresno Building Healthy Communities, The California Endowment, The Disney Foundation, and the City of Fresno.
The BMX park is expected to be open for youths in December 2019.
According to Fresno BHC, more than 250 trees were planted at Mary Ella Brown Community Center in preparation for construction of the BMX Park thanks to leaders and volunteers from Tree Fresno.
The City of Fresno also provided additional upgrades by resurfacing the parking lot and paving Tupman Street to the west of the community center to provide easy accessibility to the future park, according to Fresno BHC, a coalition of residents, community- and faith-based leaders working together to help create “One Healthy Fresno”.
Improvements will also be made to the bathrooms at the park in the near future.
“I’m grateful to the partners that are doing what the City can’t do, provide a basic need to our kids who need an alternative to gangs,” said Arias. “This is an example of the basic amenities Measure P sought to fund across the whole city.”
In 2018, Fresno BHC and its coalition partners helped lead the grassroots Fresno for Parks campaign and played a key role in drafting Measure P to equitably invest in the parks system with strict citizen-oversight and accountability.