The rebuilding of Penrose Park Velodrome moved a big step closer to reality this winter when Arcturis was hired to conduct a site analysis and create conceptual designs for a new facility on the same site.
“We’ve really ramped up events and attendance over the last three years,” said Scott Ogilvie of the Penrose Park Velodrome Steering Committee. “Nevertheless, the asphalt continues to slowly deteriorate.”
Which not only led to the track’s affectionate nickname, Mr. Bumpy Face, but also to a drive to reconstruct Missouri’s only velodrome.
The question now is, how much will a new facility cost?
The City of St. Louis, which owns the velodrome and the property on which it sits, has committed an undisclosed sum of money to the project, “but it’s unlikely that it will cover everything,” said Ogilvie. “Once we know what the cost is, we can do some fundraising and get some partners.”
The steering committee hopes to see the results of the site analysis and conceptual designs later this year, at which time it can proceed with preparing architectural documents and getting construction bids.
“I’m optimistic,” said Ogilvie. “I feel like we have an amenity that’s deserving as a quality place to race and train.”
One of only 27 velodromes in the U.S., Penrose Park was built in 1962 after the Forest Park Velodrome was dismantled to make room for Highway 40/64. The facility was designed by Olympic cyclist and Schwinn bicycle designer, Frank Burlando, and measures 1/5-mile and features 40-degree banking.
Immediately after opening, it hosted the prestigious U.S. National Track Cycling Championships. In the 1970s, a sewer collapsed under one of the turns on the track. Multiple repair efforts were made, with a more complete resurfacing finished in 1984 and again in 2005.
The facility holds The Mr. Bumpy Face Track Racing Training Series on Thursday evenings from May through August. Racing begins at 6 p.m. and ends around 8 p.m. The events vary from week to week, with the intent of holding three rounds of racing each evening.
Learn more about the Penrose Park Velodrome and how you can support the track at penroseparkvelo.com.
Author: Brad Kovach is the editor of Terrain magazine
Image: Jay Beauvais