Construction of an introductory skills bike park in the Issaquah Highlands has been postponed until more funding is potentially awarded in 2020.
Port Blakely, master developer of the Highlands, provided financial support for a bike park at Central Park when the area was first created.
“This has been a long-standing plan,” said park planner and project administrator Jennifer Fink.
National physical activity guidelines state that only 22 percent of youth in King County get the recommended amount of daily physical activity. King County Youth and Amateur Sports Grants (YASG) provide funding for community programs and capital projects to reduce barriers of access to physical activity.
As part of its 2019 funding strategy, the city had intended for YASG to invest in the project. In May, the city was notified that it would not be awarded 2019 grant funds.
“That grant was for $75,000, so we are going to have to go back out and reapply next year,” Fink said. The King County Parks staff encouraged the city to resubmit an application next year.
For now, construction of the introductory skills bike park will be postponed until 2020.
Issaquah is partnering with the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance to finalize design, permitting and other preparations this year. Currently, the park is just an idea in design, Fink explained.
“We’re partnering with Evergreen for design and long-term maintenance of the park,” she said. The local experts also helped plan and implement Duthie Hill Mountain Bike Park.
Grand Ridge Park was a mountain bike mecca long before the Issaquah Highlands was built. The trailhead is in the southeast corner of Central Park.
The master site plan places the new bike skills course near the soccer fields of Pad 3, under the BPA power lines and north of the Central Park-Falls Drive trail.
Three concepts for the park were presented to the community by survey and at a public meeting in the late summer of 2018. Both sources of input helped create a preliminary design for the bike park. Evergreen formed a “hybrid” of the three plans and included ideas from the public.
The preliminary design includes a “challenge trail,” which will be built around existing trees and flow naturally with the terrain. Dirt jumps are plotted for learning and progression to improve skills. A pump track area implements an A and B mirrored race course with entrances on two different start ramps.
“It’s just time to get it built,” Fink said. After funding is secured in 2020, permitting and construction would be the next steps, she said.