Tony Caruso has a vision for making St. Charles a biking destination in the region.
Caruso, who owns the in Frenchtown, pushed for inclusion of 10-acre BMX track in the plans for the 110-acre park in north St. Charles.
In the mean time, he’s hoping to work with the city to build a smaller pump track in the Frenchtown neighborhood.
A pump track is a sculpted dirt loop with berms and bumps. Caruso said he hopes it would give local kids a place to go and get off of couches and into the outdoors.
He said many of the bikers coming out of the St. Louis area excell at cross country riding, but not trick riding. Much of that is because St. Louis doesn't have the facilities for kids to practice.
“We think it’d be a great anchor for the business and putting Frenchtown on the map as a biking destination,” he said.
Caruso has suggested the parks department build the track on a piece of city-owned land close to the Katy Trail near , behind the apartment building. He said he would work to find free dirt to build the track and recruit volunteers to maintain it.
He presented his ideas to the Parks Board in April.
“It was extremely encouraging for us with this group that they are willing to look into a volunteer agreement that they want to help maintain and build the site,” St. Charles Parks and Recreation Director Maralee Britton said.
Although the city owns the property already and has volunteers, turning a city-owned parcel into a park requires a number of other steps, she said.
The city would need to survey the property, develop a drainage plan, do a soils test, investigate the issue of liability and since the area is in the floodplain, obtain some sort of permit. It's still unclear what it would cost to build.
Britton said staff members are investigating the cost for these steps and plan to bring back more information to the Parks Board.
In addition, she said the city would need to survey neighborhood business owners and residents to get feedback.
Carol Hoffman, who owns , said a bike track would be a great addition to the neighborhood.
“Anything we can do for kids is great,” she said. “That’s one thing we need to do more of is find things for our children to do and places to go this summer.”