become…much more than just ramps and rails. These people don’t do it for the money, because there really isn’t money in most park businesses. Rather, they see value in the riders and want to support their creativity and passion. They want to be advocates for the remarkable skills in a sport greatly unappreciated by the mainstream. Both Ed Mineck and his business partner Tony Britt are educators by vocation. Mineck works at Rochester Institute of Technology and Britt is a middle school teacher. If you talk to them for more than two minutes, you will see the passion and enthusiasm they share for giving riders access to safe, quality parks.
What led you to open a park?
EM: My son’s interest in BMX initially got me interested in the sport. He first started out at the original XDreamz location several years ago. I never felt completely comfortable leaving him there alone as he was quite young. I became the “BMX Dad” and got to understand the sport and the kids involved.
Your design is terrific. Did you use a professional design firm and if so, who?
EM: Thanks. The design really was a community/rider effort. We solicited a lot of ideas and feedback from local riders. While not all the ideas could be used, we think we took the best ideas and incorporated them into the final design. I’ve been to park where the design wasn’t ideal and accidents occurred more often because of it. We took a lot of care and consideration to ensure we had the best possible design we could given our space footprint.
What are your favorite parts about action sports in general?
EM: So many, to be honest. Rochester is home to many creative individuals. There are more left handed people in Rochester than the national average and this leads to a natural development of individuals interested in creative pursuits. Action sports require rapid transition from right brain to left brain thinking. Many of the kids interested in BMX or skateboarding are the same kids identified as having ADD. What science shows is that engaging these kids in activities that stimulate this right brain/left brain thinking actually develops the brain and can lead to improvements in academic achievement and a reduction in ADD “symptoms.” I also love sports like BMX and skateboarding because even though they are individual sports, there is so much encouragement and cameradarie between participants. The chubby ten year old who gets his front tire off the ground for the first time is given the same level of encouragement as the pro rider who lands a flip whip for the first time. It’s great to see the cohesion between riders even if they are at totally different points in their progression.
This facility looks like a huge investment. Did you spend a tremendous amount of money to make the park a reality?
EM: We do have a good amount invested here at R.A.S.P. A good portion of the seed money came from my brother who was tragically taken in an accident three years ago. He was passionate his entire life about helping people. He was always close to my son “Blaze” and encouraged his progression in BMX. We also were lucky that we had a lot of volunteers or people interested in making sure the facility was built who possessed talents we were in need of.
I bet your brother couldn’t be more pleased with what you have decided to do here.
EM: I think he would be happy to see what we have accomplished for the local riders.
What plans do you have for the future?
EM: Ideally I would like to take the park non-profit. That would allow grant opportunities for programs and improvements to directly help our local riders. We would like to offer after school activities and programs and partner with community organizations within the community to ensure R.A.S.P is a safe place for kids to go. We aren’t here to make money per se. If we can cover our expenses and somehow contribute to the scene here in Rochester and encourage and support our riders, that’s all we are looking to do.
What are your opening plans?
EM: We just got our certificate of occupancy and will be opening our doors today at 4pm. The entire Kink team is in town for a demo at 7pm.
The facility itself is located at 1044 University Avenue and was once home to a World War 1 munitions factory. Admission prices are reasonable at $10 for weekday session or $12 for a weekend session. For $20 you can ride the entire day at R.A.S.P. Saturday or Sunday.