Advanced talks under way for new velodrome
Jamaica Cycling Federation (JCF) president Kirk Finnikin, says discussions for a new velodrome are ongoing, but expects plans for a new world class facility to be completed by year's end.
Independence Park Limited (IPL) plans to expand the National Stadium and remove the existing cycle track. Although they had the option of renovating the track and having it remain in the National Stadium complex, the federation opted for a new location, as they hope to develop a facility that caters for all.
"That track was build in 1962 and is outdated. The level of cycling has increased and to be current, we need a new track as opposed to renovating the one at the stadium," he said
"We looked at and obtained requirements for different velodromes, particularly the surface riders would operate well on. They need more than a track, they need a complete facility. The stadium is a 500m track but international standard is 250 meters and most world records are broken on fancy wood surface, so we want a modern wooden track instead of concrete that allows (riders to) maximise performance. So we are trying to modernise," Finnikin stated.
"When you incorporate, parking, grandstand, containers to house equipment, what is the total area of land space required? That information is being worked out, then they can complete the options in terms of the size lands available for sale," said Finnikin.
Identifying possible locations will be the next step after discussion are completed, and some land options currently being examined informally are spaces at the University of the West Indies, Mona, land adjoining the National Stadium and in the central Jamaica.
Although talks are at an advanced stage, no estimate has been reached because of the lack of local expertise in the construction of the type of track required.
Nevertheless, Finnikin expects the project to be completed before 2020 and he is looking to tie up plans by the end of the year.
"If a private sector interest comes on board that could be reduced significantly. We can get plans finalised before the end of 2017, but breaking ground will be more difficult."
Cycling was once one of Jamaica's most popular sports, especially in the 1970s to 1980s. David Weller won Jamaica's only non-athletics Olympic medal at the 1980 Games in the 1000m time trail where he won bronze.