On Sunday, June 10, information was released that Paris, Texas, was on its way to being home of the largest pump track in America.

What began as a brainstorming meeting has developed into a proposal and plan to further cyclist attractions in Paris, Texas, making our hometown a destination location for cyclist throughout the nation.

“We discussed anything from sauerkraut and kombucha festivals to derby races on the square,” said Lamar County Chamber of Commerce Board Member Brandon Bell. “The reoccurring theme we heard is that people recognized a strength our city offers, and that’s in the world of cycling.”

From there, the idea of a pump track in Paris was discussed further which led Bell and cycling enthusiast Casey Ressler to a trip to Oklahoma City to attend the Red Bull Pump Track World Championship qualifiers May 20.

The chamber, along with the Visitor and Conventional Council, the Love Civic Center, the  City of Paris and The Rotary Club of Paris United joined forces with local businesses to prepare a proposal for funding the project.

The pump track is estimated to cost $490,000 which includes the track as well as surrounding amenities. The City of Paris will apply for a grant that, if awarded, will match funds raised dollar for dollar, cutting cost in half. In order to apply for the grant, all money needs to be pledged in advance and there is still $40,000 still needed to reach this goal according to Bell.

“It’s really a combined effort between public and private funds,” said Bell. “We saw immediate support and we’re really excited for what this will bring to Paris.”

Bell also stated there are only three other completed pump tracks in the country, with the fourth currently being built in Springdale, Arkansas. Two of the completed parks require payment for entry while the pump track in Paris, Texas, will be free to use. The company behind the project, VeloSolutions leads the industry across the globe and will be in town June 20 to conduct an engineering study for the future home of the Pump Track of Paris.

“This park will be free to anyone to use,” said Bell. “With it being at the Love Civic Center, it means that kids can jump on the Trail de Paris and have a safe route to get there and enjoy being out in the community.”

The track, pending grant approval, is also on the schedule to be the next venue to host the Red Bull Pump Track World Championship qualifiers. Bell added that events such as this attracts cycling enthusiast from all over the nation. Paris currently offers the Trail de Paris, Bike Rentals, and Barber Hills Mountain Bike Trails to the growing cycling community.

“This will bring people to Paris as a destination,” said Bell. “We’re no longer the place that people stop and grab a photo at the [Eiffel] Tower and then hit the highway again. People can stop in for a photo, rent a bike and hit the Trail de Paris, the pump track, stop for a burger and book a hotel for the night.”

As mentioned above, the project still needs $40,000 in pledges to qualify for the grant. If you, or your business, is interested in making a pledge at this time email Gina Crawford at gina@paristexas.com.

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