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Champion BMX rider Jamie Bestwick proposes ‘action sports park’ in State College area

Champion BMX rider Jamie Bestwick likes to travel to try out action sports parks in other communities, and wants athletes to have that same opportunity in the State College area.

Bestwick, who has lived in the area for 14 years, on Thursday presented his proposal for a park to accommodate people interested in BMX riding, skateboarding and in-line skating. He’s working with Centre Region Parks and Recreation to potentially locate such a facility in an existing park.

“It’s a draw for the community,” he told the Centre Region Council of Governments’ Parks Capital Committee. “Action sports park riders will want to come. I, myself, am a fan of traveling to other communities to try alternate parks.”

Bestwick offered design concepts from a basic, 3,500-square-foot option up to an elaborate, 35,000-square-foot facility. The parks offer a bowl, or “empty swimming pool” feature, replicated street facilities such as railings and stairs, and a series of ramps and other obstacles.

“I think we have a great demand,” he said of State College. “There are so many action sports athletes in this town that walk among you, that receive gold medals on TV every other month.”

CRPR program Manager Niki Tourscher said the concept was first proposed for Circleville Park, but that the Patton Township Recreation Advisory Committee didn’t think it was a good fit. Tourscher said CRPR now is looking at High Point Park, a 6.2-acre park in State College Borough.

“It’s highly underused,” she said. “There’s bocce in the spring and that’s the only thing that’s actually scheduled there.”

In addition, Centre Area Transportation Authority stops are nearby, and the Whitehall Road Regional Park is planned for land across Whitehall from High Point.

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