Minturn makes plans for bike park on a parcel of town-owned land
Trails group will pursue grant to help pay for $258,000 project
MINTURN — As a mother of four, Terry Armistead is always looking for activities for her family to enjoy. She’ll often drive from Minturn to Eagle so her kids can use the BMX course — but she’d love to see something similar closer to home.
“We’re surrounded by wilderness, so there is a lot to do,” Armistead said. “We play in the woods all the time. But it’s nice to have some structured places to go, too.”
Over the past few years, community plans and surveys have noted that Minturn needs more activities for kids. Armistead, a Minturn resident and town council member, is supporting efforts to take a step in that direction by building a bike park in Minturn.
The Vail Valley Mountain Trails Alliance and the town are working on a plan to build the $258,000, 5-acre bike park on a parcel of town-owned land. The trails group is pursuing a grant and raising funds that would pay to build it.
The park would sit on land directly below the Mini Mile trail, to the southeast of the cement plant, near Little Beach Park.
“It would be a huge asset not only to the Minturn community, first and foremost, it would also be a huge asset for our county in general,” Vail Valley Mountain Trails Alliance Executive Director Ernest Saeger told the Minturn Town Council at its May 15 meeting. “There is not another bike park or facility like this anywhere in Eagle County. It would blow anything that does exist out of the water.”
Town Manager Michelle Metteer emphasized earlier this month that the bike park plans are “very preliminary.”
How to pay for it?
Minturn leaders hope the park would not only improve the quality of life for locals but also boost local business.
“We’re always looking for more opportunities to support our business community — anything that potentially brings in events and people recreating in town, especially family-oriented,” said Minturn Mayor John Widerman.
Officials from the Vail Valley Mountain Trails Alliance hope that most of the construction funding would come from a Great Outdoors Colorado grant that would be awarded in March 2020. The project would need to be completed within two years of receiving the grant.
Because at least 10% of the Great Outdoors Colorado grant total must be matched by cash, the Trails Alliance will work to raise funds to make the project happen. The group will reach out to local businesses and individuals to raise the funds, Saeger said.
Great Outdoors Colorado uses lottery proceeds to help fund wildlife, parks, rivers, trails and open space in the state.
Trails, jumps, pump track
The town of Minturn provided $1,800 to pay for a design for the park by Shea Ferrell, of FlowRide Concepts, a Denver company. The proposal includes flow trails, gravity trails and climbing trails, as well as a dirt jump zone and a pump track.
The park would include beginner, intermediate and advanced trails. Programs at the park could include kids camps, skills clinics, races and jump competitions.
Plans envision trail connections to the Mini Mile trail as well as Little Beach Park.
The initial construction cost projection is $258,000, but the Vail Valley Mountain Trails Alliance hopes to lessen the costs with the help of donations from local supporters, including construction companies. It would also use its own mini-excavator, volunteers and trail-building expertise to lessen the cost.
Maintenance costs are expected to be 10-15% of the construction cost annually, with the work performed by the town, volunteers or local recreation districts.
Learning from other communities
It would take eight to 12 weeks at a minimum to build the park, Saeger said.
The park would adhere to a wildlife closure of Dec. 15 to April 15, the same as the Mini Mile trail, he said.
The 1.3-mile Mini Mile on Minturn open space near Little Beach Park opened in 2017 and was built with about 2,000 hours of volunteer work.
While working on the Mini Mile, trail advocates started considering the idea of a bike park on the adjacent town-owned property.
Since then, Saeger said members of his group have talked to communities that have similar parks, including Frisco and Boulder, to learn more about building a bike park.
The Frisco Adventure Park bike park, also designed by FlowRide Concepts, benefited from a $200,000 Great Outdoors Colorado grant and opened in 2011.
At its July 1 meeting, the Minturn Town Council voted to approve a resolution supporting the potential grant.
The next round of Great Outdoors Colorado grants are due Oct. 24.
Developers are circling Minturn, with hundreds of new homes being proposed, but town’s water situation will dictate their fate.