Planning for a new bike park in Laramie moved forward Wednesday evening with a public meeting and discussion about potential locations and features.
A design firm called Singletrack Trails was hired to lead the process, and the city's recreation manager, Jodi Guerin, said the goal is to present concepts and a budget to Laramie City Council at the Dec. 10 work session.
Funding for the project hasn’t been nailed down, but Guerin said it could come in part from the city’s specific purpose excise tax. Construction would likely take place in phases as money becomes available.
“Our intent is to build something nice,” Guerin said.
A bike park is a piece of land specifically designed with features for cyclists to use to practice cycling skills. Parks can include features for cyclists of all ages and abilities to practice a variety of disciplines, such as BMX, cyclocross and mountain biking.
Kelley Savage, a landscape architect and planner, presented two potential sites for the bike park, one to the southwest of the Recreation Center and one southeast of the intersection of 22nd and Harney streets.
Other potential sites, such as LaBonte Park, were considered and eliminated because of location, a lack of space, potential remediation requirements or other complications.
Savage said she and designer Greg Mazu received about 100 survey responses regarding the park. Respondents favored a park with a variety of skill-based features for different abilities located at a single site, with features oriented to minimize disruption from the wind.
“It was pretty high up there in terms of importance,” Savage said of wind considerations.
Respondents would also support higher quality features rather than a less expensive project. Ideally, the park would attract visiting cyclists from other communities.
“We don’t want it to take forever, but we also want to build a quality park in a reasonable time frame,” Savage said.
The most popular features included a pump track, dirt jumps, slope-style course, technical trails and a cross-country loop.
At the Rec Center, the potential site sits on the hillside behind the center, adjacent to Laramie High School. The east-facing slope, though steep, would allow riders to have their backs to the wind as they navigated technical elements. A detention pond at the base of the hillside would separate the park from the center.
The potential site along Harney Street sits on University of Wyoming property adjacent to the city-managed Sandy Aragon Softball Complex. Guerin said the city has plans in the next five years to expand the complex from two fields to four fields.
The site is close to Laramie Middle School, though more exposed to the wind. Mazu said the flatter site has enough slope for the necessary features.
“Mellower grades are better for dirt jumps,” he said.
Both sites have room for at least four features and more than a mile of cyclocross trails.
Laramie BikeNet initiated the bike park project several years ago and raised more than $10,000, which it donated to the city to start the planning and design process.
The meeting presentation and a follow-up questionnaire are available at cityoflaramie.org/bikepark.
Cyclists are invited to the city council meeting at 6 p.m. Dec. 10 at City Hall, 406 Ivinson Ave., to indicate their interest in the project.
“That has an impact on our leaders, knowing that this matters,” Guerin said.