Community proposes pump track at Syracuse art park

Lipe Art Park would become the home to a new biking, skateboarding, rollerblading, and scooter pump track.

Members of the volunteer group Pump Track SYR, are working towards finalizing the building plans of Syracuse’s first ever outdoor pump track, and hope to start construction next year.

The pump track would be installed in Lipe Art Park on West Fayette Street. The track can be enjoyed by people of all ages, and it will facilitate biking, skateboarding, rollerblading, and scooter use due to the unique nature of its design.

"The terrain will be great fun to explore.”
- Molly Ramage

A pump track works by using the weight of the rider in combination with slopes and bends to keep the rider moving along the track.

“It is a series of oscillations and curves in a track that is designed to maintain momentum without the rider pedaling, or pushing off,” said Sam Dana, an active member of Pump Track Syr.

Building the pump track will be done in phases. With the first phase costing between $15,000 and $20,000, the group is relying on volunteer donations and fundraising efforts to build the proposed 300-foot long, 4-foot wide track, said Dana. They hope to break ground with construction in the spring, and to have a fully functional pump track in one year, he said.

Randy Hadzor, a designer at Variety Studios, is assisting with the design of the pump track and is helping to spread the word about it. He said that the interest shown in the project has already gained such a following that the build plan for the track will be finalized soon.

The success of Pump Track SYR will be highly dependent on community involvement, and a meeting will be held in early August to discuss future plans, said Hadzor. They are especially seeking ideas from people on how the design of the pump track can fit in with the aesthetic of the art park, he said.

Molly Ramage, 24, of Syracuse, is a graduate student who likes to spend her precious free time outdoors. She enjoys biking, and said that she is excited about the idea of a pump track.

“I don’t bike as often as I’d like and sometimes I struggle to find a safe place to bike outside of traffic,” she said. “But this pump track will create that space for me, and the terrain will be great fun to explore.”

Ben Walsh, a candidate for the upcoming 2017 mayoral election, became involved with Lipe Art Park as one of its original stewards. He said it was formerly an abandoned rail yard, until 2007, when local artists identified it as a potential location for an urban art park. The park recently went through renovations, including the installation of new walking trails and new pieces of art, and Walsh said that the new pump track will be another exciting element in the park.

Anyone who is interested in submitting ideas about the design of the pump track may visit the group’s page and submit to the interest form at Pump Track SYR's official website.

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