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September 6, 2012
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Bijou Bike Park construction delayed until summer 2013

Nestled at the end of Lyons Avenue, a series of dirt jumps and broad ramps make up the South Lake Tahoe BMX park. It's quiet in the middle of the day, but on Tuesday and Thursday evenings riders hit the features for practice and races.

By next summer, that energy might move less than a mile south to Bijou Community Park, the proposed venue for a new bike park.

When the South Lake Tahoe BMX Association and and Tahoe Area Mountain Bike Association first proposed the Bijou Bike Park in September, they were pushing to start construction on the park as early as May 2012.

"We were really aggressive. We wanted to fire people up. Now we've started to refine it and get the basics down," TAMBA Trails Director Ben Fish said.

Due to delays and new plan revisions, Fish said all construction will have to be pushed back a year. Currently, the groups are working to complete the design and permitting of the park. A local team comprised of Design Workshop, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, U.S. Forest Service and City of South Lake Tahoe volunteers will compile the documents needed to permit the park. Alpine Bike Parks, a bike park design consultant based in Whistler, will design the bike elements.

The newest set of plans published in April outline two main components - the relocation of the BMX track and a mountain bike skills park. Overall, the proposed land area would cover about four acres, none of which would affect the current disc golf course, Fish said.

Riders would have a variety of trails to chose from. A series a cross-country trails for beginning to experienced mountain bikers would weave around the park, while a small pump track, children's learning area and terrain park would abut the BXM race track.

"I think it's going to be a huge community resource for kids, families and visitors alike. The trails that go up into the mountains can be intimidating. This is a first step. It's basically a skate park for bikes," Fish said.

Fish said he thinks the project will go to a public bid by late winter, with construction on the pump track and kids skill zone starting next summer. The April plans predict completion of the park in 2015 with the construction of the slopestyle courses.

While permitting and plan revisions continue, TAMBA and the BMX Association are fundraising for the park. Fish estimates total costs at more than $400,000. So far, they've raised about $1,000.

Fish described their concert fundraiser next week, Bands for Bikes, as crucial to the success of the project. It's the first of many fundraisers to raise the needed funds, Fish said, and it will include BMX demos, a raffle and silent auction as well as music from local bands such as Dad's LPs and Four Piece Puzzle.

For BMX Track Association President Lauren Thomaselli, the new bike park fits well into the Lake Tahoe outdoor recreation brand. It would also establish a permanent park and move the the current BMX track from school district land meant for track and field.

"I absolutely think it's a real need. It fits the direction of expanding recreation activities. This bike park will serve every type of bike interest. It's promoting healthy lifestyles and a healthy environment for youth to gather and ride," Thomaselli said.


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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Sep 6, 2012 05:42PM Published Sep 6, 2012 05:38PM Copyright 2012 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.