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Velodrome in SC

Velodrome in SC

My hometown, Rock Hill, SC (pop. 70,000) took an old textile industrial site and built a velodrome on it in 2012. Then later, added mountain bike trail. Then added a BMX race course, and finally added a 1.1 mile road race course.

To my utter surprise, the velodrome and the entire cycling facility has been a huge success.

Rock Hill Giordano Velodrome … -velodrome

The initial investment for the velodrome was between $1-2 million dollars with most of the money coming from the local government. When this idea was first proposed, everyone had to tell me about it, since they knew that I get the majority of my endorphins these days by riding a road bike.

But in fact, when I heard about the velodrome, I cringed.  Of all the misplaced, niche sport ideas, this one was really ”out there”. For locals who already had issues with people riding on the surrounding county roads, an expensive, white elephant velodrome park would only put cyclists in a worse position.

The city of Rock Hill, just 20 miles from south Charlotte (NC), has found that “sports tourism” can be a very good economic engine.  The City built several large softball facilities with multiple fields each in the early 1980’s. There are tournaments on these fields nearly every weekend for 8-9 months a year. These tournaments pull in a substantial number of people that fill up the local hotels, and provide a lot of customers for local restaurants. With the success of the softball fields, the city built a considerable number of soccer fields in the 1990’s. These soccer fields are now in constant use year round also.

Softball fields in the South?
Makes sense.
Soccer fields?
The numbers are with you.
But cycling?
On a track?

Rock Hill is just a 1 hour drive from the Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord (NC) where every NASCAR team worth its salt has a garage, and every driver has a house.

In the 1960’s and 70’s, Rock Hill was a basketball town in the heart of the Atlantic Coast Conference. For the past 30 or more years, Rock Hill has been football town that produces a disproportionate number of players (per capita) who make it to the NFL.

NYTimes … -rise.html

As I said, to my utter surprise, the velodrome and the entire cycling facility has been a huge success. The US Masters Track Nationals were held there recently in June. This past weekend, the BMX World Championships were held at the facility. Many other championship events have been held there.

There are many opportunities for locals to use the all the facilities which is an important point for ongoing local support.

It’s all worked well.
I’m amazed.

A few You Tube links…….

Locals Race Nights

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