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Posted by Editor on 12/8/05
Pennsylvania Undertakes Feasibility Study for Indoor Velodrome
Coatesville, Pennsylvania has engaged Velodrome Management Group to conduct a feasibility study in connection with the development of a world class center for cycling, an Olympic sport that is popular in the region and throughout the United States.
"The proposed facility would be the nation's second indoor velodrome and the only one in the Eastern United States," said David Chauner, a two time Olympic cyclist and principal consultant on the project. "Southeastern Pennsylvania and the surrounding area is a hotbed for cycling. There is no better time than now and no better fit than Coatesville."
The City of Coatesville has applied for an Industries Planning - Tourism grant to the State of Pennsylvania to fund part of the cost of the feasibility study. The grant would pay for two-thirds of the cost of the study.
The Coatesville Velodrome and American Cycling Center development plan is intended to determine the feasibility of creating, developing and managing a facilities complex dedicated to the sport of cycling for competition, training, development and recreation. The proposed development plan will call upon experts in the fields of architecture, site development, marketing, coaching, youth development and international exchange.
The City of Coatesville wants to create a community asset that supports revitalization with a focus on improved recreation, tourism and economic development, and to establish Coatesville as a nationally and internationally recognized center for cycling and the various Olympic disciplines including track, road, off road and BMX.
The proposed site will include the following:
Velodrome: A fully enclosed 250 meter indoor velodrome with 2,500 permanent seats allowing for year round national and international championship competition such as Olympic trials, World Championships, Pan American Games and World Cup meets.
BMX Track: A state of the art BMX (Bicycle motocross) track suitable for local, national and international championship events, training camps, and pre-Olympic competition. BMX racing becomes an Olympic sport in 2008.
Trails: A network of traffic free mountain bike trails and road bike paths suitable for recreation and competitive use.
The focal point of the center will be the velodrome, a steeply banked wooden track capable of hosting high level national and international competition as well as providing a much needed year round facility for training and development of young cyclists. Although the velodrome and comprehensive cycling program will anchor the facility, the building will be designed for multi-use including concerts, other sporting events and large banquets. Initial plans also call for integrated development of mountain bike trails, a road riding circuit and BMX track, all on city-owned property. The only other indoor velodrome in the United States is in Los Angeles, although another one is being planned for Albuquerque, New Mexico.
"Cycling is a great lifetime sport that promotes health, fitness and family recreation," Krack said. "The velodrome and related facilities will be the perfect recreational addition to Coatesville's revitalization program. It will help put us on the map as a leading edge, forward-thinking city."
Velodrome Management Group LLC has been retained to prepare a comprehensive business plan, including analysis of the facilities, financing options and management structure to ensure world-class stature and long term financial viability of the project. Principals on the project include Chauner and Jerry Casale, organizers of Philadelphia's International Cycling Championship who have been instrumental in growing cycling in the United States for over two decades. Also involved will be three time Olympic cyclist Jack Simes, president of Veloplex Arenas, a company specializing in planning indoor velodromes. Chauner and Simes also played key roles in developing Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley Velodrome near Allentown, recognized as the most successful outdoor velodrome in the United States. Both are members of the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame.
"In the mid-seventies, we proved that velodrome racing could be presented as entertainment as well as compelling athletic competition," said Chauner, who related how he and Simes, then Olympic team coach, attracted international athletes and thousands of paying spectators to watch bicycle racing when the sport was virtually unknown. "In those days, there was no Greg LeMond, no Lance Armstrong and bicycle racing wasn't on anyone's radar screen."
Krack said that introducing area youth to cycling in all its disciplines will be a key objective of velodrome usage and points to the highly successful Air Products Development Program created by Chauner and Simes at the Lehigh Valley Velodrome. Since its inception in 1977, the program has introduced cycling to 14,000 youngsters and, over the years, has produced 18 Olympic team members including 2000 Olympic Gold Medallist, Marty Nothstein. Organizers plan to work closely with local cycling groups to coordinate summer and winter competition and development programs.
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