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Hazel Park

October 9, 2013

Church creates BMX park in Hazel Park

Dirt track open to both children and adults

By Andy Kozlowski
C & G Staff Writer

» click to enlarge «
Rolling hills form the new Hazel Park BMX Sports Complex, where thrill-seekers are free to bring their bikes and catch some air.

HAZEL PARK — Adrenaline junkies of all ages now have a new venue to get down and dirty in Hazel Park, in the form of the Hazel Park BMX Sports Complex, the latest in a line of impressive community projects spearheaded by CityEdge Church.

Located behind a business on the corner of Woodward Heights (Nine 1/2 Mile) and Melville, just west of Dequindre, the track occupies what was formerly a vacant field. People are free to bring their bikes and hit the slopes, zipping around and catching air.

The idea came about several months ago, during another project CityEdge is working on at Tuski Park, at the corner of Vassar and Tucker, east of John R and south of Woodward Heights. There, they added a welcome center, complete with a berm, patios and picnic tables, and installed a volleyball court, as well. A pavilion is also planned.

It was when the kids started riding on the excess sand piles from the volleyball court that people started suggesting a BMX park. CityEdge then talked to the city about where such a project could be located.

When the location was determined, the city’s Department of Public Works (DPW) helped relocate the dirt dug up for the volleyball court at Tuski Park, depositing it in the field where the BMX park would be located. 

“If it weren’t for the DPW, we’d be lost,” said Lyle Hayman, CityEdge co-founder.

Then Eric Trogden, of Hazel Park, a frequent CityEdge collaborator, volunteered to shape the dirt into a track with a bulldozer from his company, Diamond Contracting.

“We gave him a general idea of what we were looking for, told him to have fun and then walked away. He was like a big kid with his toys,” Hayman said. “The next day, we came back and found a bunch of jumps and hills. It’s pretty cool.”

They waited for it to rain a bit so the dirt would settle. Then, they returned several days later and found the park already in use.

“There were like 30 kids riding all over it,” Hayman said. “We never told the kids what we were doing.” 

At press time, CityEdge was adding the finishing touches. There are two long walls, about six feet high, and the back of a building, about 20 feet tall, in need of painting. They asked the kids for advice and decided on a blue-and-black color scheme.

One wall will also have a white bar running across it, zigzagging like the track itself, and on it they’ll paint the silhouettes of kids on BMX bikes, using a projector to shine the shapes on the wall.

The city’s Parks and Recreation Department chipped in on the paint, purchased at cost from Sherwin-Williams Paint.

The church would like to get people spreading mulch along the ground and doing their part to police the area, keeping it clean and safe.

Ed Klobucher, city manager of Hazel Park, said he’s pleased with the project.

“We’re very grateful CityEdge was able to come in and make use of that area,” Klobucher said. “We think it will be a great resource for all of the community — not just the kids, either, because we see adults using it, too. It’s going to be very popular. It’s been a great cooperative effort from our volunteer groups to get the ball rolling with a little help from the city.”

Hayman said help also came from above.

“God is someone of opportunity and action. And if we don’t take any action upon it, he doesn’t leave us or forsake us — he promises us this — but what he does is give the opportunity to someone else until we’re ready,” Hayman said. “We never thought we’d get into projects this big; we thought we’d be doing smaller projects in people’s homes. When these opportunities came before, we said no, but we kept getting the same message. So we shut our mouths, went forward, and next thing we knew, things were happening. We were Doubting Thomas, but God tells us to start working forward, saying, ‘I’ll take care of it,’ and sure enough, he does every time.”

CityEdge Church meets in the lower level of Hazel Park Methodist at 315 E. Nine Mile, across the street from the library, at 6:30 p.m. Sunday nights. For more information, call (248) 765-4361 or visit www.thecityedge.org.

The Hazel Park BMX Sports Complex is located at the corner of Woodward Heights (Nine 1/2 Mile) and Melville, just west of Dequindre.