Santa Clara Police Activities League (PAL) says it will reopen the City’s BMX track on May 31.
In a press release sent to The Weekly exactly one day before the Santa Clara City Council was set to decide whether or not to remove PAL as the track manager, the nonprofit announced it had acquired the necessary insurance and approval from the City.
“The primary focus of PAL has to get this track open ASAP for the kids,” said Mike Walke, President of Santa Clara PAL Executive Committee in the statement. “We have been working day and night to obtain insurance and City approval and we are thrilled to announce this track is reopening next Tuesday so riders can get back on their bikes.”
PAL says it has “experienced new management” in place to assume track operations. However, when The Weekly reached out to PAL’s public relations manager for more details including the name of the new management team, we received no response.
PAL also says it is committed to investing 50-75% of revenue back into the BMX program moving forward. The nonprofit has also promised not to increase fees in 2022, replace rental bikes and helmets, replace the timing system, hold clinics with USA BMX licensed coaches, host private parties and events at the track, continue to pay all track operating expenses and financially prepare for a future track location.
However, what PAL cannot guarantee is certification from USA BMX. USA BMX is the National Sanctioning Body of BMX Racing. Without the sanction, the Santa Clara BMX track cannot host races approved by USA BMX, which means track guests can practice there, but not compete for regional, state or national titles.
As The Weekly reported earlier this month*, USA BMX considers Santa Clara’s BMX track one of the best tracks in the nation, however, it does not feel that PAL is capable of handling the track on its own. When PAL released the volunteer group running the track in April of this year, USA BMX revoked the track’s sanction. As of now, there’s no word on if PAL will be able to get that sanction back.
PAL says it had to release the volunteer group and thus close the track because it had discovered “that the volunteer management group had not adhered to standard and transparent accounting practices and had hidden sources of revenue from PAL.”
Nicholas Valencia, who ran the track until April, says he had an agreement with PAL’s former president that said the volunteers could keep 100% of the money they made from camps and clinics. PAL’s current management disagrees.
During the City Council meeting on May 24, PAL said it started a third-party audit to gain a “full financial account” of the previous management group. The Weekly asked PAL if this audit would be made available to the public or the media and received no response.
*Within 24 hours of our initial in-depth report posted on May 11, 2022 regarding the PAL’s management of the BMX track, PAL’s public relations representative reached out to The Weekly to ask if we would be willing to print a statement from the nonprofit. To date, no such statement has been received.