MINTURN — A long-missing option in the countywide effort to create a complete selection of mountain biking opportunities is about to be created on a picturesque piece of land near Little Beach Park.
Large dirt jumps, currently under construction, will be available to mountain bikers by early fall; the jumps range in height from 4 to 6 feet, something you won’t find elsewhere in the county.
While the park’s opening won’t be the complete vision supporters had in mind, the fact that anything at all came together is a testament to the Vail Valley Mountain Trails Alliance’s ability to adapt to funding struggles, and the town of Minturn’s commitment to a bike park for the town.
Thanks to local landscape architects Zehren & Associates, the group had a great plan for a park ready for this spring. They were hopeful for a $250,000 grant from Great Outdoors Colorado for the funding.
“Unfortunately we did not get that grant,” said Vail Valley Mountain Trails Alliance Executive Director Ernest Saeger.
Nevertheless, the alliance was able to come up with $57,000 to start construction on the first phase of the park — the dirt jumps, which will make the park unique among Eagle County offerings.
A plan for the ams
While the large jumps will be an anchor of the park, they’re not exactly the most welcoming feature to anyone who is trying to progress their skills on a bike, officials at the town of Minturn observed.
“They started with advanced features because they pinpointed that nothing like that exists in Eagle County,” said Minturn Town Councilmember Terry Armistead.
The town council met to see if there would be anything that could be done to get a second phase completed while the park builders were on site.
“The project started on May 15, and we realized that there was not enough funding to complete the Phase 2 and 2B of the project, so we started putting a plan into work,” Armistead said. “The type of project it is, they can complete that 2A Phase this summer. … We checked with them to see if this is something they could complete, and they were absolutely ready to go.”
Armistead said recent community surveys undertaken in Minturn showed overwhelming support for the bike park.
“We have a wonderful town manager right now who has listened to the citizens and she immediately put this plan into action with the council,” Armistead said of Town Manager Michelle Metteer.
Builder tax provides build funds
To fund the second phase of the park, the town was able to use $47,000 from its capital improvements budget, a fund that has been recently bolstered by the implementation of a construction use tax in town, which passed voters in 2018.
“Now with the addition of Phase 2A there will be a pump track and some flow trails,” Armistead said. “It will open it up to more users.”
And the full vision of a complete bike park with bathrooms and a pavilion is still in the works, thanks to some help from Minturn-born company Gallegos Corp.
In future years, users can expect “picnic tables, trees for shade and eventually a shade structure with a water fountain and bike stand, and all the amenities that make this a park,” Saeger said.