After receiving additional financial assistance through the Texas Parks and Wildlife Land and Water Conservation Fund Grant, the Paris Pump Track project is back on.
“The location was moved to the North Side of the Pavilion, next to the entrance to the Trail de Paris,” said Greg Wilson said. “Everything else is the same.”
Although the site was moved, the 15,000-plus square foot world-class pump track, located adjacent to the Love Civic Center, is aiming to help make Paris a top biking destination and be a possible site for the Red Bull Pumptrack World Championships.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, there was not a public groundbreaking ceremony at the inception of construction. However, it will not be long until construction is completed.
“We had originally planned to have a groundbreaking ceremony; however, in light of the pandemic, we will most likely do a ribbon cutting or grand opening when complete,” Wilson said. “The crew will begin arriving on Sunday and construction will begin on Tuesday, weather permitting. The construction team was supposed to actually begin last Monday but they are finishing up projects in other states that were impacted by weather, so we are slightly behind schedule. They anticipate construction will take four weeks.”
The project sits about $17,000 short of full completion, and some local businesses have donated to help the cause, but pump track operators understand the burden coronavirus has put on businesses and know the rest can come in due time.
“Due to the two-year time lag between the original bid and today’s costs, we found ourselves having a $17,000 shortfall,” Wilson said. “However, Mark and Mandeep Homer purchased a picnic table for us for $2,300 as did the Kiwanis Club of Paris. Quality Care ER, the very first platinum sponsor of the project, stepped in and made another major contribution to help get the project over the goal line. With there being a huge economic burden on local businesses due to COVID-19, and a tremendous need from our local non-profits, we are not soliciting any donations. There are some amenities that we would like to add such as trash cans, lighting and a sound system, but those things can wait until our local economy has rebounded and our local non-profits’ needs are met.”
The project nearly fell through after not receiving high enough marks from Texas Park and Wildlife, but the organization provided the necessary funds for the city to resume the project. The city began construction last week, but only in thanks to an all-around team effort.
“Casey Ressler has been the driving force and spokesperson for this project, and we are all anxious for him to come home from the hospital and be a part of this,” Wilson said. “We all wish him a speedy recovery. The amount of generosity and support from this community is unlike anything I’ve seen. To have local donors work together with Texas Parks and Wildlife and the City of Paris is a great example for what public/private partnerships should look like. Thanks also Carla Easton, our City Engineer and Chris Donnan at Hayter Engineering for their leadership and hard work.”