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Cottage Grove Bike Park takes shape

Chance Glasford gets air on the bike park track at Cottage Grove's West Draw Park. Glasford belongs to Minnesota Off-Road Cyclists, which has been instrumental in creating the dirt bicycle track. (Bulletin photo by Scott Wente)1 / 4
Volunteers sweep loose material from the dirt bike track at West Draw Park in Cottage Grove. The bike park project has relied on volunteers and donations. It's being built on 3 acres of city park land. (Bulletin photo by Scott Wente)2 / 4
Cottage Grove resident Chance Glasford, a member of Minnesota Off-Road Cyclists, rides the bike track at West Draw Park. The park is not yet open to the public. (Bulletin photo by Scott Wente)3 / 4
Brian Krutz, of Richfield, takes a spin around the off-road bike track at West Draw Park. Chance Glasford, the point person on the track's construction this summer, said it will attract local bikers but will also draw off-road bikers from around the region. (Bulletin photo by Scott Wente)4 / 4

With one track of hills and dirt jumps nearly finished and others planned, the Cottage Grove Bike Park is taking shape just months after the project launched.

Volunteer workers are finalizing the park's main attraction -- a 1,000-linear-foot winding track generally for use with BMX-style bikes -- while preparing for a second track that will be designed for mountain bikers and other features at the city's West Draw Park along 70th Street at Meadow Grass Lane.

As organizers look to a fall opening for the bike park they also have scheduled a party for this weekend that's intended to give the public an opportunity to see what's going on at the track and to raise money for its construction.

The "Party at the Park" is planned for 4-9 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14, and will include bike demonstrations, a bonfire, a silent auction, a raffle, food, a DJ, a beer tent and activities for children. It's free to attend.

The city provided 3 acres of land at West Draw Park for the bike park, but construction has been funded largely with donations and much of the work is being done by bikers -- from around the neighborhood and the Twin Cities -- who will use the park.

Originally it was thought the bike park would cost $15,000, but after improvements and new planned features the price tag is probably $25,000 to $30,000, said Chance Glasford, a Cottage Grove resident and member of Minnesota Off-Road Cyclists, a nonprofit group that has embraced the Cottage Grove park and plans to include it on its list of official bike tracks in the state. In addition to donations and the fundraiser this weekend, Glasford said organizers are going to seek grants to help defray some of the project costs.

A core group of about five people has led the park's construction, Glasford said, but as work progressed in recent months more people have turned out to help. Volunteers show up a few nights a week and on Saturdays. Much of the work is being done with hand tools.

"We're getting more and more local people involved," Glasford said.

The park is still officially closed, but volunteers who show up to dig and do other work get to take a test spin through the main track as a reward for their work. After the park is completed, volunteers will maintain it.

"That's kind of the culture of the sport -- you dig to ride," Glasford said.

The main bike track will be accompanied by a "pump track," which is meant for mountain bikers and is designed to require no pedaling once the rider starts the run. The International Mountain Biking Association plans to build that track later this month and is using the project as a trail building school, Glasford said.

There are other off-road tracks and trails in the Twin Cities, including at Woodbury's Carver Lake Park and in Eagan, but Glasford said Cottage Grove's will be the largest in Minnesota. (There are plans for an even larger park in Duluth, Glasford said.)

The park will attract riders of all ages, Glasford said, because its design makes it enjoyable for riders of varying skill levels.

"This is more of a draw, it's more of an attraction," he said, referring to riders from around the Twin Cities who already are volunteering to build out the park. And yet, he added, it will be popular with neighborhood kids as well.

Glasford said Cottage Grove has been very positive and helpful with the project.

"The city's been great," he said.

If you go

A "Party at the Park" fundraiser for the Cottage Grove Bike Park at the city's West Draw Park will be from 4-9 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14.

The event will feature a DJ, bike demonstration, food and beer, a bonfire, an inflatable bounce house, a raffle and silent auction.

Money raised will help support construction of the off-road bike park.

West Draw Park is at the intersection of 70th Street and Meadow Grass Lane.

The event is free to attend.

Scott Wente

Scott Wente has been editor at the South Washington County Bulletin since 2011. He worked as a reporter at other Forum Communications newspapers from 2003 to 2011.

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