BIG STONE GAP — Spearhead Trails is building a bike park with a pump track in Big Stone Gap.
Executive Director Shawn Lindsay was at the June 11 council meeting giving the town an update on the progress.
During an earlier phone interview, Lindsay explained some of the features. The park will include a walking trail, obstacles and a pump track in the center.
“You don’t have to pedal on a pump track,” said Lindsay. “It’s a great way for people in Big Stone Gap to explore mountain biking and learn mountain bike safety.”
A pump track has smooth mounds that allow the cyclist to use their body to pump the bicycle across the mounds instead of pedaling.
Plans for the bike park have been underway for two years, but the grant funding was just recently received.
The $20,000 to $25,000 going toward the track is part of a larger $500,000 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission. The grant is for economic development and will also fund another bike park in Pound, along with six kayaking sites on the Powell River, mostly in Lee County.
The park will be located behind the Heritage Church of God on Wood Ave E, near the Powell River. The church has granted a temporary easement to the town, but the town will seek a permanent easement.
Town Manager Steve Lawson asked about the quality of the track, suggesting that $20,000 seemed to be a low cost compared to the $160,000 pump track in Johnson City, Tenn. He asked if the town should apply for more funding toward the construction of the track. “We want to make sure it’s a good track from the beginning.”
Council member Bobby Bloomer added, “We want it to be a good draw.”
Lindsay assured them that the contractors being considered are familiar with building tracks. Lindsay reminded council that the bike park is not just a pump track, but will have a walking trail and obstacles as well.
Lindsay stated that an engineering services firm will be selected in the next few months and will be completing an environmental review.
In a later text message, Lindsay explained that the review process could take up to two years, but could also be completed as early as the fall. “Construction would take less than a month once started.”