A $1.3 million dirt bike track is set to be built on the city's east side after Cleveland City Council approved the project at Monday's council meeting.
"I think it's an excellent use of money," said Councilman Ken Johnson who voted for the bill.
"We got recreation centers where roofs leak," said Councilman Brian Kazy who voted against the bill. "We don't have heat in some of our rec centers. We got all kinds of problems with our ball fields and additional football fields. The city tells us they don't have the money to maintain those, but they can turn around and find money to build the dirt bike track."
The bill passed in a 9-7 vote. It is supported by Mayor Frank Jackson, whose grandson is a dirt bike rider and has been arrested for riding illegally on city streets before.
The track is expected to be constructed at Marion Motley Park at Carson Ave. and East 73rd Street. An outside vendor will manage and operate it.
"I think it's going to be a lot of noise, a lot of attraction," said Gequise Allen, a nearby resident who is opposed to the idea. "I think a lot of little kids will try to follow it.."
Besides her concern about noise, Allen worries about the safety of her small children with dirt bikes and ATVs speeding by.
"We're going to engage traffic engineers and other engineers to deal with the traffic, to deal with the noise issues," said Councilwoman Phyllis Cleveland who sponsored the bill.
The hope, from council members like Cleveland who are for the project, is that riders who wreak havoc on city streets will instead go to the track. But Kazy disagrees.
"I think the track will be used but not by the individuals who are out being a menace to our society," he added. "There's a reason they want to be out on the street. They want to be seen."
Questions also remain as to how riders will get to the track.
"Those problems haven't been worked out yet," said Johnson.
The city will spend an additional $1 million to decontaminate the park, which officials said would be done regardless.
Cleveland said the vendor who oversees the track will be responsible for safety and liability of it.
Construction is expected to be completed in the next two years.