The Metro St. Louis Velodrome Association currently operates the only Olympic cycling velodrome track in our region in North St. Louis City, but they aren’t stopping there. The group has proposed a new velodrome in Wildwood at the city’s Town Center.
The existing Penrose Park Velodrome, known by users as Mr. Bumpy Face, was built in the early 1960s and is in dire need of repairs for continued use and competition. To bring it up to speed, so to speak, would cost a lot of money and time, which is why the association suggested a new velodrome be built last year.
According to Wildwood City Administrator Ryan Thomas and Economic Development Manager Julian Jacquin, the City Council’s Planning and Parks subcommittee has been provided with preliminary details of a proposed velodrome at Old Manchester and Taylor roads.
It was Thomas who approached the association to ask whether it had considered Wildwood as a potential home for a new velodrome track. The proposed site, which is jointly owned by Greenberg Development and Dierbergs Markets, is currently an undeveloped field. Greenberg Development also owns additional property to the north of the proposed track site, and Greenberg and Dierbergs jointly own another property across Taylor Road to the east.
According to the memo sent to Wildwood City Council members, the velodrome would be a unique destination for the region and attract visitors to the Town Center and encourage further retail growth.
“Seeing the potential to fill current vacancies at Dierbergs Town Center and to fill future retail space on their other adjacent property holdings, Greenberg and Dierbergs Markets have determined that it would be to their benefit to donate the land necessary for the proposed velodrome track to facilitate its development,” wrote Thomas.
In the memo, Thomas said the velodrome track would be developed and operated under some form of lease agreement with the association. City ownership of the land would provide numerous benefits, including allowing the city to maintain control over the site. In doing so, Wildwood could use the facility for other public purposes, such as an ice skating rink during the cycling off-season, movie nights, fitness classes or other smaller-scale events.
Thomas said a St. Louis County Municipal Parks grant of up to $540,000 and a Missouri Department of Natural Resources grant of up to $150,000 could potentially be secured for the project. Theoretically, the cost to build the velodrome track itself is estimated at $1.5 million, with a potential total project cost of approximately $4 million.
In November, Julie Carter, track director for the Metro St. Louis Velodrome Association, wrote a letter to Thomas explaining the proposal. In the letter, she stated that the organization wants the new velodrome “to be a community resource for entertainment, recreation, exercise and competition.”