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Bike trail coming; BMX site might

After more than two decades of lying dormant, the Concourse might be on the verge of finding its wheels.

Caretakers of the Concourse _ 217 acres at the northeast corner of State Road 52 and Hays Road _ say a wooded bike trail is close to completion there, and they are close to signing a deal with for a bicycle motocross track for the site.

Jim Wilcox, president of the Concourse Council, which manages the property, said he hopes to sign a contract with Tampa Bay BMX next month to build a BMX facility on the property. He said Tampa Bay BMX is affiliated with the American Bicycle Association, an Arizona-based sanctioning body for the sport.

The track would be open 50 weeks of the year. Wilcox hopes a summer camp and a national tournament will eventually land there. There's a BMX track in Dade City, and another track is near completion in Oldsmar. Officials from Tampa Bay BMX and the American Bicycle Association could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

The Concourse is close to finishing a quarter-mile bike path through woods to the Suncoast Parkway. Pasco County's Parks and Recreation Department is building the trail, and a ribbon cutting ceremony is planned for 10 a.m. Aug. 17.

Alric Pottberg donated the Concourse land nearly three decades ago. The Concourse Council, the private nonprofit group that manages the property, has a nature center there and leases 6 acres of it to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office for use as Safety Town, a mock town that teaches safety to children.

Aside from a few concerts and educational and charity events, the land in west central Pasco has pretty much sat dormant, Wilcox said.

He hopes that's about to change with the bike path, a BMX deal, and the fact that the organizer of the Bay Area Renaissance Festival has said he is considering the Concourse for the annual six-week event.

All of the different elements have "been in the planning, and it all came together at the same time, so we figured we'd make a big splash," Wilcox said.

_ Jennifer Goldblatt covers business in Pasco County. She can be reached in west Pasco at 869-6229 or toll-free at 1-800-333-7505, ext. 6229. Her e-mail address is goldblattsptimes.com.

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