Mountain bikers and BMXers may have a new place to ride as early as this summer.
The South Lake Tahoe Parks and Recreation Department is proposing to build a multi-faceted bike park in Bijou Community Park, with construction starting as early as May.
"Having all the bike facilities in one area just makes sense for the community," said city special events coordinator Lauren Thomaselli, who runs the BMX track for the city.
The project has received widespread support from the City Council and the community. But before construction can begin, the City Council will need to formally approve the project and the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency will need to issue a permit.
The bike park was first proposed by the South Lake Tahoe BMX Association and the Tahoe Area Mountain Bike Association in September. Since then, they have drawn up plans and introduced the idea to the community.
Rough layout designs of the park show separate areas for a BMX track, a skill zone, a slopestyle course and a pump track, a series of bumps and whoops riders can pump without pedaling. There's also a designated area for kids. The plans may change though depending on the requirements of a TRPA permit, Thomaselli said.
So far, the organizations working on the project have received more than 100 letters of support from people who are willing to volunteer and provide goods and services, according to a presentation about the project by Stan Sherer, the city's director of community services.
"I like it because it will give the kids in town a place to go and something to do," said Lauren Lindley, who runs Pearl Izumi bike shop near the "Y." "It will give new mountain bikers a way to practice skills before moving into some of the harder stuff we have like Toad's."
The cost of the project is estimated around $436,000, which would primarily be paid in grants from various bike organizations, Thomaselli said. If the city donates the land, it will be relatively easy to get the funding for construction, she added.
For the BMX track, a new location is becoming necessary. The current location is on school district land that's designated for track and field.
"It's an exciting thing for the BMX track because the current space is temporary," said Thomaselli. "We've always known that."
A new bike park would carry a variety of benefits, ranging from promoting healthy lifestyles to attracting bicycle tourism, according to Sherer's presentation. Thomaselli has heard few objections to the park.
"We're looking at it and we're not finding too many obstacles to moving forward with this," Thomaselli said.