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Medford bike park plans get rolling

Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune The Bear Creek Greenway runs through the future site of a Medford bike park to be built in north Medford.
Proposal also calls for neighborhood park and trail system on 30-acre parcel near Bear Creek

A proposed regional bike park along Bear Creek is starting to take shape on a 30-acre property in north Medford.

The off-road bike park would offer a number of trails and skill levels on both sides of the creek as part of a master plan for Midway Park, which is currently undeveloped.

The site, located near Railroad Park at Midway Road, would also have a four- to five-acre neighborhood park as well as a dog park.

Rich Rosenthal, director of Medford parks, said his staff has been working to develop plans for the park that will be presented to the Medford Parks Commission for approval next month.

“This park has some of the prettiest creek frontage in Medford,” he said.

Currently there is one bridge that goes over the creek, but another two bridges are being considered to help connect the trail system.

While a neighborhood park is the priority, Rosenthal said there likely are more grants available to help build the bike trail system, which would be designed to attract cycle competitions.

A “pump track,” which offers berms, banked turns and other features on an all-weather asphalt surface, would also be built under the proposal.

The trail system, which would take up about 20 acres in the park, would offer jumps that progress in difficulty for beginners to advanced riders.

Once the master plan is adopted, Rosenthal said, the city will look at grants and other ways to generate the money needed to build the park.

“We do not know yet how much it would cost,” he said.

A neighborhood park typically costs about $400,000 an acre, but the bike trail system would likely cost less per acre. However the two bridges proposed over the creek would add significantly to the cost of the project, Rosenthal said.

Some of the features in the new park, which would have a parking area off Midway Road, include a playground, picnic shelter, walking paths, security lighting and restrooms.

These features were based on the recommendations of a survey of local residents. One of the suggestions in the survey was to increase security along the Bear Creek Greenway, which traverses the park.

Rosenthal said the park would likely be completed in phases.

The original master plan for the park was developed in 2006.

Once the new plan is approved, Rosenthal said, his department would begin to work on the cost to develop the property.

Over the years, the vegetation in the 30-acre property has been a haven for homeless camps. But the city has undertaken significant vegetation removal to lessen the fire danger, and many of the homeless camps have been removed, Rosenthal said.

The city hasn’t undertaken the building of a bike park before, but Rosenthal said a regional bike trail system would provide another economic draw for the city.

At the south end of Medford, there is currently the Lithia Driveway & Fields, which is a regional draw for its ball fields. Another indoor swimming and recreation center is being built at Wes Howard Memorial Park in northwest Medford.

Reach freelance writer Damian Mann at dmannnews@gmail.com.