The 9th Street BMX Park has been a community project since it was first built over 20 years ago. What started as a single dirt jump constructed by local riders has grown into a whole series of jumps maintained entirely by volunteers.
“This was all flat, and there was one jump in the middle, that’s what we started with,” recalls Steven Tyler, one of the BMX riders to help construct the first jumps. ”You think, what happened, did these sprout out of the ground? No. That’s a lot of time spent digging out here, and a lot of credit needs to be given to a lot of people to have a place like this. People put a lot of work into a place like this.”
That group effort mentality is something Ty Bement instills in his students. Bement teaches BMX lessons to those interested in taking up the sport.
“We talk about safety gear, how to push through jumps,” Bement says. ”Before we start any of that, we talk about how to use a broom and a water hose.”
The dirt jumps are constantly being torn down and reconstructed, but on Memorial Day, every jump was destroyed in a wall of water.
After Memorial Day, the 9th Street BMX Park was completely underwater. Photo courtesy Darren Drewitz.
“Everything was underwater. You could swim down here,” Bement recalls. ”That was a trail apocalypse for Austin.”
“It was racing through my mind, are they gonna rebuild it?” says Dakin Drewitz, a student of Bement’s. “Is it going to be the same as it used to be?”
After nearly four months and a lot of work by volunteers and community members, the answer is yes. Most of the jumps have been reconstructed in the wake of May’s devastating flood, but this labor of love never quite wraps up.
“The dirt jumps are really never done,” Bement says. “They’re ongoing work.”