Polk County to build new mountain bike park for Des Moines area
Around 50 acres of undeveloped land connecting Des Moines and Pleasant Hill will be turned into a new mountain bike park, Polk County Conservation director Rich Leopold told Axios Tuesday.
Why it matters: Recreational advocates say the metro is in need of another public park, as evidenced by a 40% jump in trail usage last year.
- Plus, Copper Creek Mountain Bike Park will also function as a massive rain garden to improve water quality and reduce flooding.
State of play: Polk County recently purchased the land — which is near a flood plain and connects to the Gay Lea Wilson Trail just off East University Ave. — for $300K.
- Leopold said multiple attempts to develop parts of the site by previous owners have failed, largely because of its rough terrain.
Lemons to lemonade: While traditional development flunked, the property is ideal for a mountain bike park because its bumpy surface can be used as jumps, Leopold said.
- It's also conveniently located between developed areas of the two cities, allowing planners to integrate trails and green space.
Details: The county's drafted plans call for 4.5 miles of dirt tracks oriented for mountain biking, winter fat biking and hiking.
- A pump track and skills area would include rocks and other native landscaping features for bikers.
- A wetland area would help filter water from Copper Creek before it enters the adjacent Fourmile Creek.
What's ahead: County officials say the roughly $600K project could be completed in 2024, but the timeline is dependent on fundraising and grants.
- Some of the development costs could come from a special water quality and conservation improvement bond that will be on the November ballot.
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