Former Lebanon landfill could become mountain bike park

A former landfill near Lebanon may see new life as the nation’s first mountain bike park designed according to the National Interscholastic Cycling Association’s standards.

Kevin Krulik, city engineer, pitched conceptual designs to the Lebanon City Council on Monday for the park to be built on Lebanon’s former 110-acre landfill at U.S. 52 and West 450 North. As proposed, the city’s public-private partnership with an undetermined sponsor could pave the way for the $500,000 reutilization project.

Already, city officials have worked with California-based Hilride Progression Development Group to design a park with beginner and intermediate trails, a skills track, a pump track, a children’s track and more.

Those progressive skill features will be important as the city looks to establish a partnership with the NICA, a California-based not-for-profit that develops mountain bike racing events and training facilities targeting middle and high school riders.

“This is not a Red Bull racing facility. This is not an extreme mountain bike facility. This is very much family-focused, family-friendly,” Krulik said.

One of the next steps the city will take, Krulik said, is to meet with representatives from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management to determine what conditions the city will have to fulfill to reclaim the former dump.

Krulik said he’s heard early support from the state, so long as the project’s construction doesn’t disturb a 3-foot clay cap covering the landfill. The city will also have to establish a monitoring and maintenance procedure to ensure the cap stays intact.

“If you play by their rules, they very much support that reuse,” Krulik said.

Nat Lopes, owner of Hilride Progression Development Group, told the IBJ his plan was to build up rather than dig in. He said adding dirt will allow the park to have features it otherwise couldn’t have, like an advanced drainage system.

“When every other trail system in the region is closed due to rain, snow melting, ice, other events that can impact the integrity of the trail, this system will be rideable,” he said. “Folks can bank on having really nice riding conditions.”

Lebanon City Councilor Keith Campbell was skeptical of the state’s early support and expressed concerns about the reuse.

“I’m not a real fan of IDEM, when they give you their word. It’s got to be a little deeper than that,” he said. “They change their mind faster than the weather changes.”

Dick Robertson, another Lebanon councilor, gave the project his early support. He even went so far as to compare it to Westfield’s sports attractions.

“This is kind of like our Grand Park right here,” Robertson said. “We can have something no surrounding community around Indianapolis has.”

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