AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESurfer attacked by shark near Channel Islands calls rescue a ‘Christmas miracle’“\ told me they’re still looking for a concessionaire to run it, but I know of at least six people who turned in an application, including myself,” said Leal, who volunteered at the old track for 12 years before it closed in mid-2004. “I don’t care who runs it, I just want to see it open,” he added. Leal said part of the problem might be that the county is asking for 15 percent of the gross profits from the concession, an amount he says is untenable in a sport where profits typically barely cover operating costs. “This is not a money-making thing,” Leal said. Kaye Michelson, spokeswoman for the county’s Department of Parks and Recreation, said 15 percent of the gross from the concession “is something we can negotiate.” The major problem in reopening the facility is finding a qualified entity to run it, she said. “We decided to bring in an outside company with the experience,” she said. Questionnaires were sent by county officials to several candidates recommended by the American Bicycle Association BMX, the main sanctioning body for BMX racing in the country, Michelson said. WHITTIER NARROWS – For Roland Leal, the sport of bicycle motocross racing – also known as BMX – is a family affair. Three of Leal’s four children love the sport so much, they dream of participating in professional-level competitions. BMX racing is similar to motocross motorcycle racing but does not use motorized bikes and riders traverse only once around the track in each race. But the closing two years years ago of the nearest BMX track at the Whittier Narrows Recreation Area has put a big dent in the Leals’ aspirations. Now the Whittier residents have to drive to the next nearest tracks, which are in Bellflower and Orange. Both, however, are open only intermittently. Leal, 52, said he doesn’t understand why the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation still has not reopened the Whittier Narrows BMX concession – two years after the county completed more than $1 million in improvements at the facility. Parks officials now are assessing two applicants who responded to the query. County officials hope to reopen the track by the beginning of next year, Michelson said. “Our goal is to have this beautiful, specialized facility, and we are very excited and looking forward to opening it back up to the community,” she said. But the track’s closure has affected some area bicycle shops that specialize in BMX equipment. Some shops sponsor BMX racing teams, whose members lost access to a racing surface where they could both practice and race when the Whittier Narrows track closed. Ron Patterson, manager of Pat’s 605 Cyclery in Norwalk, said the closing nearly “wiped out” the sport for kids in the area. Mike Franze, owner of Fullerton Bicycles in Fullerton, also found his business declined. “The more kids ride, the more they need repairs and equipment so it has affected my business,” Franze said. “But it also had an affect on the involvement of kids from the surrounding neighborhoods in BMX. Some customers and I have been trying to promote BMX as a way to combat obesity.” firstname.lastname@example.org (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3029160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!