Monday, January 3, 2011

Valmont Bike Park Update

The City of Boulder's Parks and Recreation Department is making great progress towards a spring 2011 opening of the Valmont Bike Park. While an exact opening date has not yet been selected, the site is still a flurry of activity with workers installing utilities, restrooms, parking facilities, landscaping, and riding elements. Fourteen months ago we were celebrating the Bike Park's ground breaking - now we're very close to it opening. Your donations have made a significant impact in making the park better for the community; we want to thank you not only for the financial support, but your patience as well - as we all await the big day.

Recently, the park was awarded an additional $45,000 grant from Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) for the informational and trail signs at the park. To most observers, this seems like a lot of money for signs. The signage is one of many important safety elements of the park. The park will be teaming with kids and new riders, and safety is of paramount importance. All the riding features must be clearly marked, like a ski area, to steer inexperienced riders away from the expert level elements. Parks & Rec is wisely taking risk management seriously, we not only want a good riding experience, but rider safety cannot be compromised. GOCO is the agency responsible for allocating state lottery proceeds, and we want to thank the state of Colorado's Lottery for awarding us this grant. Between the coordinated fundraising efforts and grant writing of Parks & Rec and BMA, we have added $500,000 to enhancements to the park!

As of the week of December 20th, the restroom building was framed and sheathed, most of the irrigation pipe and sprinkler heads installed, 90% of the trails complete, seeding and erosion control mats installed, and concrete work is complete. The hub plaza is 80% complete. Local artist Christian Mueller was tasked with the design, and his vision is nearly complete. The hub plaza will serve as the gathering space for riders and park users, and is a true work of art. The plaza is shaped like a chainring, and has enormous stones radiating from the center like spokes of a wheel. For more photos and progress report, please see the city's website

Judd DeVal of Alpine Bike Parks is the bike trail contractor. He and his crew have come from Vancouver, BC, Santa Cruz, Boise, and North Carolina to build the bike features. Alpine Bike Parks has built some of the finest parks in the world and we are fortunate to have this crew working on Valmont. They are out there long days sculpting the trails, pouring concrete for the wall rides, and welding the structures for bridges and jumps. They have made impressive progress, and you will be grinning ear to ear when you get to ride the finished product.

Chance Brown of J2 Construction, the site's general contractor, has done an amazing job coordinating the park's major excavation work and overall progress. These two teams are doing a remarkable job to bring make this dream park a reality.

We had poaching problems when the park construction began, but most of these problems have subsided as riders realized poaching was creating havoc for the construction crews and delaying the project. Thanks for being responsive and letting the crews get their job done unhindered.

The single biggest question we hear is "When is the park going to open?" The Parks & Rec Department has been working hard to get Valmont open. They are doing a great job in balancing the maintenance of existing parks, while simultaneously building the Bike Park and installing synthetic turf (and other upgrades) at East Boulder Community Park.

Since we have been working together on the fundraising, we have witnessed the monumental task first hand. There are other city departments involved, various contractors, wildlife and irrigation ditch concerns, and budgets to manage. Park construction is a large undertaking - as they must ensure adequate parking, restroom facilities, landscaping, and information signage commensurate with the number of visitors the park will attract. They must also comply with all clean water, clean air and noise regulations and make required transportation improvements to Goose Creek, Valmont and Airport roads to keep traffic (both bike and car) flowing seamlessly. We hope to be able to pinpoint an opening date in the New Year, but rest assured, this is going as quickly as possible and no one is dragging their feet.

We have had many generous offers to volunteer to help, and we are sorry there has been no opportunity to date. We hope to have some opportunities soon, but most of the construction is beyond the scope of volunteer days. If we had to move 16,000 yards of dirt (a dump truck holds 6 yards) with shovels, we would be out there until the year 2071. With earth movers, cranes and concrete trucks buzzing around and open utilities, the site is not safe for volunteers.

If you see any members of Parks and Recreation, from the guy shoveling snow on the Pearl St. Mall, to the staff behind the desk at one of the Rec Centers, they all deserve our thanks. We have a new appreciation for our Parks and Recreation Department, let them hear it

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