Chandler and Gilbert support exploring plans for a regional BMX bike park to serve enthusiasts lobbying for a place to ride.
No sites have been identified for a shared facility, but elected officials and cyclists like the idea.
"If you can build a regional site, which means we share the expense equally, I think it makes a lot of sense," said Chandler Mayor Boyd Dunn, who spoke of the possible partnership during a recent candidate’s forum.
"I’m excited about the Chandler (option)," Gilbert cyclist Josh Betley said. "That’s the best thing ever."
Chandler and Gilbert were approached last summer by BMX supporters wanting to use the communities’ existing skate parks or get a new facility. Similar lobbying efforts are being waged in Mesa and Apache Junction.
Chandler community services director Mark Eynatten said Chandler estimates a $600,000 construction cost and $40,000 in annual operating and maintenance costs for a regional bike park. Liability issues must still be discussed, he said.
"We would have to find the operating dollars in our existing budgets, which means something else would have to fall by the way side," Eynatten said.
Gilbert Mayor Steve Berman said he is concerned about funding.
"I’d be glad to work with (Dunn) on it, but it’s not a real high priority right now," said Berman, citing Gilbert’s budgetary woes and shortage of public safety personnel.
In Gilbert, a committee was formed in December to study possible bike park sites. The committee presented initial findings Thursday to the Gilbert Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and will meet again later this month.
To date, four sites have been identified, but each requires additional research and discussion, said Gilbert parks superintendent Kenny Martin. He added that the town also is looking at the cost to retrofit the existing Freestone Skate Park to accommodate cyclists.
Chandler explored the idea of retrofitting its skate park at the Snedigar Sports Complex, but decided against it because of liability and maintenance issues.
Pat Blackburn, a bicycle enthusiast and member of the Bike, Board, and Blade Coalition, said it’s time Chandler found a way to serve all of its residents.
"There is a huge portion of kids who have no place to play," Blackburn said. "They are ostracized from the parks because they choose to ride a bike rather than a skateboard. These parks are segregated by use and it’s not fair."