Oldsmar BMX track still closed due to safety concerns

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What was once vibrant is now vacant. Oldsmar's BMX track has been closed for months and city leaders are unclear about when riders will be jumping dirt again.

"We just received a structural assessment report that basically said we have to renovate the hill structure," said Felicia Donnelly, the city's assistant manager. "We started seeing some shifting of the wall structure, which isn't uncommon here in Florida."​​​​​​​

The track has had structural issues dating back to 2015, so the city hired an engineering firm, which confirmed the worst: It wasn't safe.

"It was determined in order to keep the safety of our riders, that we need to close the track and do a full-blown assessment," Donnelly said.

A city council meeting Oct. 1 will discuss hiring a contractor for the rebuild, but other than that, there's no timeline.

Geoffrey Ssengoba, who works at an Oldsmar bike shop down the road from the track has spent years training young riders on this dirt. He says BMX community seems discouraged.

"They don't think it's going to be there," he said of the track. "They don't really think anyone in city hall is fighting for them."​​​​​​​

Many riders are having to make the trek from Oldsmar to the area's only other track, in Sarasota. Ssengoba says the pro-level riders are used to traveling, but it's especially difficult for the newcomers.

"The up and comers it makes it super hard. Some of them get out of school at four or three, and to expect them to take an hour and a half ride during rush hour."

It's a frustration Donnelly understands.

"I don't have an estimate of when the track will be open again, but we're moving as quickly as we can," Donnelly said.

While their uphill battle continues, local riders will have no other choice but to wait.