Payton Perspective: Antioch should set aside western portion of Prewett Park for legal dirt bike and quad riding

Proposed site of off-road recreational vehicle area at Prewett Park. Bing Maps

By Allen Payton

Of all the proposals from the mayor and council members, this year, one that sounds the craziest might not be such a bad idea. Both Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe and District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker are proposing the city find land that can be set aside for youth (and others, hopefully) to ride their dirt bikes and quads, legally, because they aren’t allowed on city streets.

Torres-Walker’s own sons got in trouble in December for riding their dirt bike and quad illegally on city streets and Antioch Police officers who were able to stop the one on the quad. Then, an accident involving a quad and a car occurred just last week, sending the quad rider to the hospital with severe injuries.

Also, during the mayor and Torres-Walker’s press conference about youth activities and proposals a couple weeks ago, which included this idea, it was rather ironic that a dirt bike rider passed by on Lone Tree Way. I said with a chuckle, “he needs a place like that” and everyone laughed.

While at first, I didn’t take the idea seriously, after thinking about it, now I do and think it could be a good thing.

The closest place to legally ride dirt bikes in East County is at the Diablo MX Ranch, off Vasco Road in Byron. It costs $20 for kids, $30 for other riders, and $5 for spectators.

I support the effort for Antioch kids to have a safe and legal place in our city to ride their off-road recreational vehicles and propose it be at the unused area of Prewett Family Park, west of the community center, at the corner of Lone Tree Way and Deer Valley Road, as shown in the yellow area of the map above. The city already owns the land so there would be limited cost.

The city never completed the plans for the entire 115-acre park, which includes a library on the west side of the parking lot next to the community center and much more. Plus, recent councils have not placed an assessment or fee on the new home subdivisions they’ve been approving in either the Sand Creek area nor other parts of the city to pay to finish what those of us in the old 89-1 Mello-Roos District started when we paid to build both the Antioch Water Park and Community Center. So, the plans may never be fulfilled.

Instead of just using a portion of the west side of the parkland for a disc golf course, the city should allow off-road vehicle riders to use that area including the steep hill to have some fun.

Of course, there would have to be limitations, such as hours of when the riding would be allowed, signing legal waivers to hold the city harmless in case of accidents and injuries, and possibly staffing. But I think it’s doable.

During Torres-Walker’s video rant, in response about her sons’ incident, she said other kids are doing it, too, riding their off-road vehicles illegally on city streets. While that doesn’t excuse her for allowing her kids to break the law, what she said is correct. They are and many of us see them riding on city streets pretty regularly.

So, why not accommodate the kids and let them have some fun in a safe and legal way, close to home?

Let’s see what the council decides about the matter, on the agenda as item #6 during their special meeting Tuesday night, May 18. The meeting begins at 7:00 p.m. ACC mtg 051821 agenda item #6 Off Road Vehicle location

the attachments to this post:

Off-Road Vehicle Area at Prewett Park – Bing Maps

ACC mtg 051821 agenda item #6 Off Road Vehicle location
ACC mtg 051821 agenda item #6 Off Road Vehicle location

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