AZTEC — BMX riders looking to pull a tail whip or do bunny hops on the dirt tracks in Riverside Park will now have to pedal elsewhere, at least temporarily.

The city closed the BMX track this week, and has discussed the possiblity of replacing it with an amphitheater sometime in the future.

"As a community park that hosts two big festivals - the Animas River Blues & Brews Fest and the Highland Games & Celtic Festival - we want to diversify its elements, so we will be adding volleyball and basketball courts, horseshoe pits, and new fencing around the perimeter," Mueller said.

Over the next few weeks, the city will be removing some of the dirt and leveling the tracks.

Much of the work will be done by the New Mexico Youth Conservation Corps, a program that provides summer employment for local youth, promoting work skills and community investment.

"Last summer we got to work with 17 kids through the program," Mueller said. "They did such a great job, we are looking forward to working with them again this summer."

But Aztec area BMX riders still will have options, said Steve Mueller, wth the Aztec Parks and Recreation Department.

"Like a racecar track with the compact alignment of intestines, dirt tracks feature mounds of dirt that allow air tricks at greater speeds and heights than street riding can offer.

We are tentatively moving to the motocross track on Highway 173 toward Navajo Dam," Mueller said. "Also, BMX riders can now bike the bowls' at the skate park across the river in Hartman Park."

The city singled Riverside Park out as being in greatest need for improvement as part of a recent enhancement of the parks plan. Unfortunately for some riders, the BMX tracks were slated for relocation.

Of the eight parks inside city limits, Riverside suffers from car traffic difficulties caused by rodeo events and a need to expand the use of the park, according to a September report on the enhancement plan.