The proposed Rock Hill cycling center at the Riverwalk planned community is a step closer to reality. Rock Hill officials say they have created a financially sound method to pay for the mix-use cycling center. This Monday Rock Hill City Council members will vote on constructing the five-million dollar park using Recovery Zone economic bonds provided as part of the federal stimulus program. The bonds will be purchased by Carolina First Bank (acquired by TD Bank) and according to the Herald Online roughly 1.2 million dollars of the original five million debt would be forgiven after seven years.
To help pay off the debt the city is budgeting $375,000 annually from hospitality taxes. Private sponsorship and public grants are the other methods to pay off the debt. As a result construction is scheduled to finish a year earlier than originally proposed.
With a cyclocross course as part of the building plan hopefully organizers can collaborate with the cyclocross national championships being held in Louisville, Kentucky in 2011 and 2012, as well as, the cyclocross World Championships scheduled in 2013. This is the first time the World Championships has been hosted in the United States. The Rock Hill bike park could become the starting point to a series of ‘cross races attracting the best racers in the world as they prepare for the World Championships in Louisville. With worldwide attention on the southeast and the Rock Hill bike park it is easy to see how the city could leverage the publicity to generate tourism dollars.
In addition to the cyclocross course the Rock Hill park’s master plan is to include a BMX track, as well as, mountain bike trails, a road loop and a velodrome.
According to Twitter postings the Rock Hill bike park was approved today by the city council. Construction is scheduled to be completed by December 31st 2011. According to Spencer Lueders, the founder of 24 Hours of Booty, he has also received a verbal commitment for $100,000 from a sponsor.
In his Twitter post Lueders says, “Wow 8 years of work have paid off.” It certainly has.
With the funding reported to have been approved Rock Hill now needs to partner with USA Cycling and coordinate tune-up cyclocross races in conjunction to the upcoming master championships and the Elite World Championships in 2013. This kind of collaboration would put the Rock Hill bike park on the map nationally. The 2013 World Championships could further showcase the area to the world.
Carolina Cycling News will post more information as it becomes available.