The proverbial wheels are spinning and placing the design in motion on Mercer Island’s future Bike Skills Area (BSA) at Deane’s Children’s Park.
With American Ramp Company (ARC) out of Joplin, Missouri, on board to design the course at its new location, the city has put a community survey into action through Nov. 21. Staff will also host an in-person public meeting to continue gathering residents’ input leading up to the first draft of the design from 4-5:30 p.m. on Nov. 17 at the park, 5701 Island Crest Way.
“We’re very interested in hearing from every corner of the Island — bikers and non-bikers alike,” said Alaine Sommargren, the city’s deputy Public Works director, adding that they’d like Islanders to weigh in on the design and voice their concerns regarding the BSA. “The more that we hear, the better the design will be at addressing the community’s vision.”
Residents’ feedback will be added into the mix alongside input from the contractor ARC, city staff and members of the Parks and Recreation Commission to develop the new design, which is currently in the 30% realm and will be presented to the commission in early December.
“The goal is to finish the design in early 2023, with construction anticipated in late spring. The city is hoping to have the site open for use in mid-late summer 2023,” Sommargren said.
The size of the new course — which will be situated in the northwest corner of Deane’s — is slated to be similar to its former Upper Luther Burbank Park space. The city closed the old course on Oct. 7, 2021, due to significant operating challenges and safety concerns, according to a previous Reporter article. The defunct BSA featured biking trails and jumps throughout an approximately 290-linear-feet area, according to an Action Sports Design assessment in March of 2022.
“It’s too early to say which features will be included in the new BSA design, but the city is working with ARC to design a facility that includes a diversity of skill-building features for off-road cyclists. It will be designed for a range of skill levels,” said Sommargren, who noted that ARC entered the picture when the city released a formal request for qualifications in August of 2022.
Sommargren said the BSA is vital to the community because it provides skill building, exercise and socialization for teens and other riders in a safe spot near their home.
At its July 19, 2022, meeting, city council appropriated $75,000 from the Capital Improvement Fund to begin the design of the BSA, which has an estimated total project budget of $350,000, as noted in a previous Reporter article. The report mentioned that a capital funding placeholder for construction was slated to be included in the 2023-24 biennial budget.
To take the survey, visit https://tinyurl.com/4xu4eyvn.