A growing group is becoming more persistent about being able to perform tricks such as the Doublepeg Grind, the Rockwalk, the Squeaker, and the Tailwhip in Spencer's city limits.
The topic of building a bike park was reintroduced a few weeks ago when Spencer Park and Recreation Director Delray Bredehoeft was presented with a petition, signed by several youth from the area, stating, "Looking for people to help convert Moose Pond" from a "good-for-nothing" area into "a worthy bike park."
A formal request was presented to Spencer Park Board members Dick Montgomery, Kim Bates and John Zinn last week by Karen Cooper, a local parent, and Jason Chaffin, owner of Bikes, Boards & Blades.
Bredehoeft warned the group that it may not be that simple. For example, in the city skatepark project at East Leach Park, volunteers raised only about $20,000 out of the over $200,000 cost. "So, those committees and volunteers are very helpful - but it takes a lot more to get those projects accomplished than a few fundraisers," he cautioned the bike park hopefuls.
Bredehoeft said that if there is a strong interest by others for a bike park locally, they would need to go through a similar process. Once a location is selected, cost and design would be decided, and potential funding sources addressed.
"It's not something that's going to happen overnight," Bredehoeft said. "When we did the skatepark, it took several years to accomplish that. And, we were fortunate to get some grants on it."
Chaffin explained that "typical" bike parks consist of a flat, hard surface area with various amenities and ramps. Chaffin is currently working to price ramps.
"A person can put in one that would make the kids really happy - I'm not talking the concrete or the fencing - but as far as buying the ramps, $20,000 would do that," he said. "That would buy all the ramps you need."
Chaffin said it would be best to have a steep ramp on one end, with wedges to safely ride down. In the middle, a jump or a box with a grind rail would allow space for tricks. "So, they're kind of doing a little trick on the end, jumping something in the middle and going and doing something on the other side. And, a lot of them have two different runs," Chaffin said.
When Montgomery asked Cooper and Chaffin what kind of interest they think is out there for a bike park, Chaffin simply said, "It's huge."
"I can tell you that kids go down very, very early in the morning to ride their bikes (in the skatepark)," Cooper added, to avoid getting tickets. "During prime skateboarding time, that's what will happen. And, they want a place to ride their bikes."
Bredehoeft indicated the state legislature has exempted municipalities from liability.
"But, they did say you have to build it according to today's construction standards and that it has to be certified by an engineer," he said.
The Spencer Park and Recreation Director also noted that a potential bike park's location will be a "big, big" decision, and that it could create problems if located in a residential area.
City officials said money is tighter than when the skatepark was done. Chaffin indicated he and his wife had discussed taking out a loan, approaching Spencer Park Board members and saying, "Here's the ramps. Can you guys give us a place to put them?"
Chaffin and Cooper were directed to return to the board with a proposal, along with ideas on anticipated cost and what they could contribute.