Effort to build dirt jump bike park in Ferndale rolls on

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDJuly 15, 2013 

FERNDALE - Riders in this city are closer to getting their own dirt jump bike park.

Ferndale officials have been helping resident Patrick Doll with his quest to build such a park for mountain and BMX riders since the City Council gave the go-ahead May 20.

The proposed park will be on Second Avenue near the ConocoPhillips Sports Complex and Pioneer Park, on city property.

Doll, a longtime BMX rider, was among the volunteers who helped build the Dirt Jump Bike Park near Civic Stadium in Bellingham.

He's working to bring something similar to Ferndale, including the model in which the biking community builds and maintains the park.

The nonprofit Whatcom Mountain Bike Coalition built and maintained the bike park in Bellingham.

"I'm excited for a lot of kids and people around Ferndale to have a whole different type of park open up," Doll said, "and I'm happy to see that Ferndale is very supportive over this."

Doll is awaiting the city's review of his land disturbance permit. Meanwhile, he is looking for soil for the park.

When the matter went before the City Council in May, two neighbors of the proposed park expressed concern that it would add to existing problems that include intoxicated people urinating and defecating in the area, and people dumping dirty diapers and needles.

In response, Mayor Gary Jensen noted that when the disc golf course was put in VanderYacht Park it drew more people and helped deter shady behavior that had occurred at the park.

"Bad people don't want people around," Jensen said in an interview, adding the dumping and illegal activity isn't such an issue in the seasons when more people show up to play baseball and football on the ConocoPhillips ball fields.

And that's how the riders could help because they tend to ride later in the day and after work, Jensen said, making them another group that could help deter illegal activity by their presence.

As for the dirt jump park, riders will not be able to ride at night - no lighting is planned anyway - and an organization will be required to maintain it. The City Council can revoke use of the land any time, and landscaping will be installed to the east and north to reduce the visual impact on an adjacent residential property.

The city also wants the park to be designed to avoid putting a tall hill where riders could overlook the adjacent residence - "so they don't crest there in other words," said Jori Burnett, the community development director for the city of Ferndale.

LEARN MORE

Contact Ferndale resident Patrick Doll about his effort to build a dirt jump bike park in Ferndale by emailing bmxer_doll@hotmail.com. He also will need plants for landscaping and wetland mitigation at the site.

Reach Kie Relyea at 360-715-2234 or kie.relyea@bellinghamherald.com.

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