Press release from the city of Asheville:
Attention bicyclists who use the velodrome in Carrier Park: The velodrome renovation is about to begin.
The great news: We’re going to have a better-than-ever velodrome for our community when the project is completed.
The other news: There will inevitably be some down time for bicyclists to get this job done. The goal is to not disrupt Carrier Park any more than necessary.
“We anticipate keeping the bridge and interior portions of the park open during the majority of the construction; however there may be temporary closures,” said Parks & Recreation Landscape Architect Pete Wall, who is the project manager. The volleyball court area will be down temporarily when drainage is added at that section, for example. So thank you for your patience in advance.
The project, which begins in mid-July, will include:
- Re-grading and resurfacing of the track surface;
- Installation of new lighting for the track;
- Installation of new fencing;
- Clean-up of the outer wall and guardrail;
- Re-grading and shaping the interior edges of the track to blend with the other existing recreation activities and improve drainage; and
- Interpretive and informational signs.
“I see the renovation being huge for two groups: casual riders and those getting fit or racing/training,” said Jimm McElroy of VeloSports Racing, who participates in the Ring of Fire local bike racing group. “First and foremost is safety. The track has served a longer life than intended since cars stopped racing on it and now it’s just bicycles. But it still has sustained years of heavy use and it’s very evident when looking at the surface in the turns. The project will increase the safety of the track dramatically.”
The velodrome is on what used to be Asheville Speedway race track. The track was built in 1960 and was in operation until 1999. Before it was a speedway, it was used as a horse race track! The park’s namesake, Edwin Carrier, built Carrier Race Track and Fair Grounds between the Sulphur Springs Railway and French Broad River around 1900.
So for more than a century, 32-acre Carrier Park has been a gathering spot for generations along the French Broad River. The City acquired the property in 1998. Now it’s used for roller hockey, lawn bowling, picnics, festivals and much more. With all that use, City staff has been working with City Council for opportunities to upgrade and improve this park. In 2016, the multi-use restroom building was renovated, and the basketball court and roller hockey rink were improved. The City added another sand volleyball court, due to popular demand, increasing our total to three courts.
Now it’s the velodrome’s turn. Plans call for the project to be finished in November.
The budget for the Carrier Park Velodrome Safety Project is $1.3 million, paid for from the capital projects fund. For more information, visit the Carrier Park Improvements webpage on the City of Asheville website.
What exactly is a velodrome?
A velodrome is an arena for track cycling. Modern velodromes feature steeply banked oval tracks, consisting of two 180-degree circular bends connected by two straightaways.