• Seattle Council delays vote on Beacon Hill mountain bike park

    By: David Ham


    The Seattle City Council delayed a vote to authorize a $100,000 neighborhood grant for the design of a new mountain bike park pilot project at Cheasty Greenspace in Beacon Hill.

    A community group called the Friends of Cheasty Greenspace at Mountain View wants to build 1.5 miles of mountain bike trails in the park.

    The pilot project would cost $750,000.

    "I'm just all about everybody enjoying my sport.  It's healthy, it's in the forest, it's exercise it gets you off the couch," said Jim Denison, who is also a part of the group.

    The trails would go in the 43-acre greenspace off Cheasty Boulevard South.

    "It's like creating kind of like a bicycle race track kind of combination roller coaster," said Mark Holland of Friends of Cheasty, a group opposed to the mountain bike trail in the park.  "There's going to be increasing pressures on these natural resources and we want to see protections put in place," Holland said.  

    "I think their perception of it is these guys going off huge jumps and charging through the forest and tearing everything up. and that’s really not what envision for this space," Denison said, "This is a neighborhood spot for everybody and we want to be inclusive for mountain bikers and for walkers and for hikers."

    Proponents of the bike park say the space would get more kids involved in mountain biking, and it would help with restoration efforts with the green space.

    REI has already donated $30,000 to the cause.

    “Through REI’s grant program, we made grants to Friends of Cheasty Mountain View ($30,000) and Seattle Parks Foundation ($5,000) to directly support the volunteer-led restoration efforts of Cheasty Greenspace with the goal of sustaining a healthy urban forest.  In addition, more than 200 REI employees volunteered their time in June to help with the restoration efforts.  REI supports the project because of its balanced efforts to restore a natural urban setting and enhance it for pedestrians, hikers and mountain bikers,” said Bethany Hawley, REI.

    But neighbors say they still don’t think the park is a good idea because it would change the protected green space.

    “So what's taking place is in exchange for the restoration opportunity to have an opportunity park. why not restore for the wildlife and why not restore for the habitat, “ said Kathy Colombo, who lives near Cheasty Greenspace.

    Patricia Naumann who is also involved with the Friends of Cheasty thinks the city hasn’t been open about the process.

    “It sure seems like a steamroll stealth situation to me” Naumann added, “There no was no outreach for planning.  There was outreach for promotion.”

    The City Council will decide on the grant next Monday.

    The Parks Department is still waiting on the final proposed plans for the park and plans to have public meetings on the proposal this fall.

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