The Velodrome at Bloomer Park in Rochester Hills, Michigan, was honoured with the 2006 Daniel L. Flaherty Memorial Award, given by the Great Lakes Park Training Institutes at its annual conference, held recently in Angola, Indiana. The Velodrome was the project of note among entries from six states - Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Iowa and Wisconsin - and proved to be the perfect blend of Public, Private and Non Profit groups working together for the greater good of the community and its residents.
The privately-funded Velodrome, spearheaded and completed by velodrome designer and builder Dale Hughes, is a model for private-public cooperation. The 1/8th mile oval was built on an abandoned parking lot in Rochester Hills' Bloomer Park after a creative fundraising campaign. Volunteers provided the labour and continue to maintain and operate the track, which was given to the city upon completion, making Rochester Hills one of only 17 communities in the U.S. to list a Velodrome among its facilities.
Beyond the actual construction of the $1 million sports facility, the institutes also recognized programming at the Velodrome, a carefully designed opportunity to engage the public to ride, race or watch events. "Programming is everything," said Hughes, who is also the coordinator of events at the track. "Our track is open seven days a week. Youngsters, adults, everyone, can come and ride - it's free the first time. After that, there's a nominal fee. Youngsters 18 and under are free all the time, all season long."
Alan Buckenmeyer, Park Manager with the city of Rochester Hills, said that the Velodrome has increased Park income by over 40 percent. The Velodrome will open May 1, 2006, starting its sixth season.