Cleveland announces ‘family-friendly’ dirt bike events in Muni Lot

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CLEVELAND-- The city of Cleveland announces a series of "family-friendly" events for dirt bike riders.

Director of public works Michael Cox was joined by Greater Cleveland Sports Commission CEO David Gilbert for the news conference on Thursday.

According to the city, the dirt bike events will be held at the Municipal Lot this summer and are part of Mayor Frank Jackson's plan to create alternatives to street riding.

"Trying to turn the street riding into something positive and get the guys off the streets. Our ultimate goal down at the Muni Lot is to create programs where we're giving  the youth mechanical advice, lessons on safety, as far as how the components of a motorcycle actually work,"said Johnny Burton, founder of the Bob Burton Foundation. The organization works to reach at-risk youth through sporting events and education.

Burton said he also hopes to help showcase the talent of riders in this area.

"On behalf of the urban dirt bike culture, I will tell you I'm ecstatic to have a partnership with the mayor and the Cleveland sports commission," said James "Smoke" Patton, director of community outreach for the Bob Burton Foundation. "I'm a fellow street rider and I do understand that street riding was becoming a nuisance."

In November, city leaders started considering the Muni Lot as a temporary solution as they seek a location to build a permanent track. The track is expected to cost $2 million.

Groups of riders on dirt bikes and ATVs have taken over city streets several times in recent years. Last May, a 12-year-old on a dirt bike hit an 8-year-old in Kerruish Park in Cleveland, leaving the boy with a broken arm and a broken leg.

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