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Author Topic: Mountain bikes find future park in flatland(orlando)  (Read 2464 times)

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Offline ProEdgeBiker .

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Mountain bikes find future park in flatland(orlando)
« on: June 04, 2010, 10:53:00 PM »,0,6393917.story?page=1

When you think of mountain bikers hitting the trail, you probably   picture Colorado or Oregon someplace with actual mountains.
Soon,   you may add the flatlands of Orlando to that list.
Pushed along   by a wave of community support, Orlando is close to starting work on a   mountain-bike park with off-road trails through thick woods and a track   of man-made rolling hills. The park would go in the middle of Orlando's   concrete jungle, on 17.6 acres of mostly wooded land not far from   downtown and Fashion   Square Mall.
"To have this kind of acreage that's never been   developed, in the heart of the city, is pretty amazing," said Malisa   McCreedy, planning manager for the city's parks department.
Because   Orlando faces a $55-million deficit and has no money available for new   parks, the park will be built with private money and sweat equity. The Winter   Park Health Foundation, a charity that promotes healthy living,   approved a $50,000 grant in April.
"We like that it would be a   place that makes it easier for people to be healthy," said Lisa   Portelli, the charity's program director. "It's at the center of the   city, so it's accessible to many different parts of the community."
Mountain   bikers themselves will blaze the trails. Local members of the Ocala   Mountain Bike Association the organization that maintains greenway   trails on state land near Ocala are forming a chapter that will   maintain the Orlando park once it's built.
"With only $50,000,   we're still able to do a lot," McCreedy said. "We're not constructing   anything you're talking moving dirt and volunteer labor."
The   park will be built on undeveloped land that was part of the defunct   Orlando Naval Training Center. Most of the Navy base was given to the   city and sold to the developers of Baldwin Park in 1999.
This   property, known as Area C, is the last remaining piece. The U.S.   Department of the Interior gave the land to the city with the   stipulation that it be used for a park.
City officials had resisted accepting the land at the same time it   took the rest of the Navy base because contamination from an old   dry-cleaning facility had left the ground polluted with potentially   hazardous tetrachloroethene that was seeping into Lake Druid.
The   Navy spent millions to clean the site, and McCreedy said Friday that   when it was finally conveyed to the city last year, the Florida   Department of Environmental Protection and the Navy had certified the   property clean enough that its use would pose no danger to health or the   environment.
The push for a park catering to off-road mountain   bikers began not long after, when the city's recreation planners   solicited ideas. Wadeview Park resident Mario Maenza suggested a small   park where he and other avid mountain bikers could leave the pavement   and pedal over dirt, rocks and tree roots.
Mostly through word of   mouth, the idea rippled through the community of biking enthusiasts in   Central Florida and quickly gained steam. A Facebook   group has grown to more than 700 members.
"I knew there would be   support, but I had no idea there would be this much support," said   Maenza, 39.
Orlando and surrounding cities continue to build a   network of paved bike trails. But there are few options when it comes to   off-road riding. There are some trails in the Oviedo   area at Little Big Econ State Forest and off Snowhill Road, and Mount   Dora plans to build mountain-bike trails at a new nature park off   U.S. Highway 441.
But dedicated riders now have to drive an hour   to Ocala   to access a 60-mile network of trails on state land known as the   Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway.
"You can only ride on   a paved trail for so long before it gets boring," Maenza said.
The   first phase, which could start as early as November, includes two   winding, single-track trails just wide enough for one bike. One would be   for beginners, the other for more-advanced riders. There would also be a   so-called "pump track," a dirt area about 50 feet by 50 feet with   small, closely spaced hills.
Supporters are trying to raise   additional money from the bicycle industry, charities and foundations   that would allow other features. That includes a "skills area" where   riders could practice over natural obstacles such as logs and bridges.
There's   also talk of someday using a cluster of four abandoned warehouses, left   behind by the Navy, for indoor-riding tracks, but there's no money for   that now.
The city has long planned to extend the popular Cady Way   Trail, a paved route that runs between Orlando and Goldenrod.   Transportation funding may come through within a year, allowing the   urban trail to be extended to the mountain-bike park.
"We're   providing different types of recreational activities than we have in any   of our other parks," Mayor Buddy   Dyer said.
Mark Schlueb can be reached at   or 407-420-5417.

Offline WaTT$laYeR

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Re: Mountain bikes find future park in flatland(orlando)
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2010, 10:55:25 PM »
That is sweet :)

Offline Darrinw2001

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Re: Mountain bikes find future park in flatland(orlando)
« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2010, 09:04:39 AM »
Cool! Another place to ride in Florida!