A 50-acre park for mountain biking, trick and cyclocross riding is being proposed on the site of a former landfill off the Ohio 48 Bypass.
If built, the city would join Chicago, Milwaukee and other American cities with bike parks through an initiative backed by the local park board.
“It will help propel Lebanon from a sleepy antique town to a fun, trendy place to live and visit,” K.C. Stallings, a Lebanon resident and owner of two area bike shops, said during a presentation to city council on May 18.
Part of the property, where the former landfill was operated, would be transformed into a park with banks, dips and other obstacles favored by some bike riders. The rest of the land, which is wooded, would be converted into a mountain bike trail.
“Chicago is doing that on its south side,” said Aaron Rourke, Adopt-A-Trail Coordinator for the Little Miami Scenic Trail.
“It’s good for all who live there,” Rourke said. “It attracts tourists.”
In addition, Rourke said the trail would set Lebanon apart from other small cities for millennials looking for a place to live after relocating in the Miami Valley.
Currently there is no development on the land marked as Turtlecreek-Union Road Park on long-range park plan maps.
“It just sits there unused,” Jeff Napier, chairman of the local park board said during the presentation.
Napier and other bike park backers urged the council to agree to amend the plan to anticipate the bike park development, rather than use for additional sports fields as it is currently designated.
Cyclocross is a form of bicycle racing. Cyclocross races are held at John Bryan State Park in Greene County, Harbin Park in Butler County and Eastwood Park in Montgomery County. Riders use areas of the Kingswood golf course in Warren County. There are mountain bike trails in Montgomery and Warren counties and areas of parks in Centerville and Kettering set aside for BMX riding.
But the nearest bike park offering the range of amenities envisioned in Lebanon is in Fort Wayne, Ind., according to supporters at the meeting.
Funding can come through corporate sponsorships, grants from non-profits or the government.
Councilman Matt Rodriguez asked the organizers to present a detailed plan for funding the park.
“I just don’t want it to be a pipe dream,” he said.
The next step is approval of the park-plan amendment by council scheduled for Tuesday, June 9.
“At this point it’s a concept plan. Obviously there’s no funding in place,” Deputy City Manager Scott Brunka said.