Jessica Cejnar Andrews / Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2023 @ 3:50 p.m.
Crescent City Councilors Approve First Beachfront Park Masterplan Project — An 18,000 Square Foot Bike Pump Track
Four years after Del Norte Trail Alliance founder Joe Gillespie introduced them to the concept, Crescent City Councilors took their first step toward installing a bicycle pump track at Beachfront Park.
Blake Robinson, action sports development specialist for American Ramp Company, presented the City Council on Monday with a circuit-style track boasting two jump lines and a wall ride in the center — a custom feature Robinson says is something his company has never offered before.
It will be the first feature of Crescent City’s new Beachfront Park masterplan to be designed and built, according to City Attorney Martha Rice. The 18,000 square-foot track will include 621 linear feet of asphalt and is slated for the western area of the park near Dog Town.
“American Ramp Company builds bike parks, pump tracks and skate parks all over the country and internationally,” Rice told the City Council. “Getting on their schedule can be a bit of an issue. Currently they’re holding a spot in the fall for us — about September to November. It takes about eight to 10 weeks, weather-dependent of course, to build the pump track. If we get a contract in place we can secure our spot in their schedule.”
City Councilors unanimously approved a cooperative purchasing agreement for up to $575,416.69. The cost covers prevailing wages for labor, materials, products, equipment, grading and drainage, soil and sod landscaping and worker accommodations to build the pump track.
The project will be paid for with $5 million in Proposition 68 Statewide Park Program grant dollars. According to City Manager Eric Wier, the original estimate for the design and construction of the pump track was about $2 million.
While the price tag for the pump track is much less than originally anticipated, Wier said the Beachfront Park masterplan does call for a full bike park with other amenities. These include connecting walkways from Dog Town and Front Street as well as the entry way to the bike park. The $5 million grant will only go toward the pump track part of the bike park, Wier said.
The bike park’s design is expected to be about $700,000 to $800,000, Wier said.
The city will also use its $5 million Prop 68 grant for the Tolowa Interpretive Trail, a one-mile pedestrian loop around the park and the expansion of KidTown to make it ADA accessible, Wier said.
“This is actually going to be a regional draw,” the city manager said of the pump track. “This is on the larger side of pump tracks just in general and so this will be an amenity within our park that will attract, not just the locals, but also on a regional basis.”
Crescent City Mayor Blake Inscore said the pump track is about double the size of some he and Wier saw in Portland.
Gillespie introduced Crescent City staff to pump tracks at a September 2019 town hall meeting when the city was pursuing a non-competitive $200,000 Prop 68 grant.
Describing it as a circuit of rollers, banked turns and features designed for bicyclists, Gillespie said a pump track would draw visitors and locals and could be used by anyone from 2-year-old kids to “kids at heart.” He said he has also seen skateboarders use it.
On Monday, Wier said while motorbikes wouldn’t be allowed on the pump track, it’s for “all wheels and all ages.”
“Also the double wall feature is a very unique feature,” Wier said. “There are a couple different routes you can take. One is a little bit more on the jump side of things. There is a line you can take that is meant for more of the jumps versus more of the rolling features around the outside.”
Inscore’s colleagues, Kelly Schellong and Jason Greenough, brought up the need to maintain the pump track, which includes mowing the grassy areas in and around it. Schellong asked Wier to bring the City Council a cost comparison of adding artificial turf versus paying an employee to do the maintenance. She also said she didn’t see a place where riding mowers could access the pump track’s interior space.
Robinson said those areas would need to be mowed by hand or with a weed eater. American Ramp Company does offer a floor of permeable rubber that doesn’t need to be maintained and provides a softer fall zone. However, he said, that will be an extra cost.
“It is a significant upgrade in costs,” he said. “But it takes away all of your maintenance, but it is an added cost.”
Schellong was also concerned about liability for the city in case someone gets hurt.
Rice said it would be the same as at any other city property. There would be a sign at the entrance telling riders to wear helmets, knee and elbow protection. The city also has a responsibility to ensure the track is not in a dangerous condition, Rice said.
According to Rice, Crescent City was connected with American Ramp Company, a Missouri-based company, through Sourcewell. Also based in Missouri, Sourcewell is a public entity that conducts national procurements and offers contracts to the federal government as well as state and local governments, Rice said.
Sourcewell began seeking proposals for Crescent City’s pump track in October 2020.
American Ramp Company and eight others responded. American Ramp Company scored the highest due to the pricing, warranty and value-added attributes it offered.
Sourcewell entered into a contract with American Ramp Company in December 2020. The contract expires Dec. 28, 2024, Rice said.