Minturn Bike Park grand opening celebrates incredible story behind the effort
Four years of planning and hard work was realized in Minturn on Friday when dozens of locals celebrated the opening of the Minturn Bike Park.
With mountains looming large in the background, and the park’s enormous jumps also towering above the crowd, a large group of stakeholders spaced themselves out around the pump track and dirt jumps to hold a ribbon which was cut by Minturn Town Councilmember Terry Armistead, symbolizing the park’s official opening.
Vail Valley Mountain Trails Alliance Executive Director Ernest Saeger said Armistead had been an early supporter of the park, dating back to the genesis of the idea, which first arose in 2016 when the alliance was building the Minturn Mini Mile trail nearby, in plain view of the area.
“We said, ‘Wouldn’t this be the perfect site for a bike park?'” Saeger said.
Saeger said as the idea continued to take form, members of not only the Minturn Town Council, but the larger community began to show interest, which encouraged the alliance to keep pursuing the idea.
“We kept the conversation going, and it kept building momentum,” he said.
Saeger, on Friday, went through a long thank-you list of organizations that helped the project become a reality, including Zehren and Associates, Gallegos Corporation, Telluride Stone, Mountain Organic Landscaping, First Chair Designs, Vail Honeywagon, Active Energy Solar and more.
“The amount that was put into this in volunteers, in-kind, professional services, materials, labor, whatever you can imagine, I still have to add it up, but I have to imagine it’s over a half-million dollars,” Saeger said.
Saeger also recognized the local community members who contributed small donations to raise $50,000 through a gofundme.com campaign.
“I couldn’t believe the support,” Saeger said.
Saeger said the VVMTA took the $50,000 that they had raised from the community and began to construct Phase 1 of the project.
In May, the Town of Minturn saw Phase 1 underway and contributed funds to see a second phase constructed, as well. Minturn also contributed countless hours (literally countless as Town Manager Michelle Metteer said they did not count how many hours were contributed) through town labor.
“Town of Minturn public works, Arnold and his crew, were incredible,” Saeger said. “Without them this would not have happened. They put so much time into this in helping with their material, their skill, their machines.”
Saeger also recognized VVMTA board members Casey Wyse and Pete Seibert, who were in attendance on Friday, saying Wyse’s volunteer work is the stuff of legend, and Seibert helped with the most important detail of anything involving construction work these days — raising money.
Seibert took a minute to recognize the late Gerald Gallegos, the local mason who built a corporation out of his skill and hard work, but is best remembered for the spirit of philanthropy and volunteerism he instilled in the company in his later years.
Seibert said he knew several stories of Gallegos’ desire to help local children.
“There are a lot of stories about Gerald — what he did for kids, not just kids organizations, but individual stories,” Seibert said.
Gallegos’ volunteer spirit was honored throughout the project, with workers from Gallegos Corp celebrating the company’s 50-year anniversary by constructing the park’s pavilion. The pavilion is named in honor of Gallegos.
“It fits,” Seibert said of the name. “With all the kids that will be using the place. With families.”
Armistead also gave a short speech, recognizing the one group who had been left out in Saeger’s effort to tell the tale of the incredible collaboration that took place in order to make the bike park possible.
“Most of all, I want to thank VVMTA, you guys made this happen,” Armistead said, addressing Saeger. “We are so lucky to have an organization like this in our community, and I hope we all realize that, [and] that this is nothing short of amazing. … I can’t believe it has happened, but thanks to VVMTA, I think it has.”
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