Eagle Mountain bike park wins fans
August 5, 2009
EAGLE MOUNTAIN — Though it met with some controversy in the planning and approval stages, Eagle Mountain’s new bike park has become a hit.
Justin Komoroski, 22, of Eagle Mountain, has been freestyle biking since he was a boy. He used to drive to Orem and other cities to find places to bike, but with the new park just minutes from his home, he uses it at least an hour every day.
“Finally I can stay in my own city and do what I love to do,” Komoroski said.
Chase Anderson, 20, met Komoroski at the park on Saturday. He uses the park two or three times a week.
“It’s kind of like freedom,” Anderson said. “Personal expression. You can do what you want and be yourself. They’ve done a great job. It’s been built by people who ride, which is nice, instead of by someone with a schematic.”
For the youth of Eagle Mountain, the park is a godsend among the relentless desert sagebrush and hordes of grasshoppers.
“I love it,” Anderson said. “It gives a lot of kids out here something to do. When we first came here, we had nothing to do but terrorize the neighborhood. Now we can just grab a bike and come ride.”
To make the park a reality, local bike enthusiasts worked with the Wasatch Area Freeride Trail Association, which is a Utah-based nonprofit mountain biking group, and a local homeowners association. Advocates have said the park is Utah’s first full-service bike park.
Opened this spring, the park is built on 10 acres of utility easement east of the Castle Rock subdivision and south of Golden Eagle Road within The Ranches. The park was built by volunteers, with the city paying for materials.
Komoroski spent many days’ worth of work as a volunteer helping to build the park. Anderson also helped build the park.
“We’ve been pretty lucky since our new mayor [Heather Jackson] came in,” Komoroski said. “She’s all about parks and recreation.”
On Saturday, Komoroski was riding his $600 TRL3 freestyle bike over a series of clay hills created as jumps, catching air as he went from jump to jump.
“It’s just exciting to have it here,” he said of the park.
The best part is that there are wooden ramps, clay jumps and mountain trails, providing something for everyone with a mountain biking interest, he said.
At first neighbors were opposed to the park, but as they have seen it used, they have begun to come around, Komoroski said.
Greg Johnson was one of those neighbors who spoke against the park when it was approved by the city in May 2008. He lives immediately adjacent, his front door just feet from the park trail.
“We were one of those neighbors who initially was pretty adamantly opposed,” Johnson said. “As it turns out, I don’t think it was that bad.”
His primary concern had been that it would turn “into a dust bowl,” he said, but volunteers and the city have worked hard to keep the park in great shape. There was no dust on Saturday on the dirt trails created from clay baked hard by the sun.
Johnson said he has been impressed with the work the city has done to plant trees at the park. And the park is well used by people of all ages, everyday.
Initially Johnson said he argued that the park would decrease property values but now, “I think it has actually enhances property values,” he said.