A Cottonwood Park bike track for children will soon be moved and downsized, but a larger one will join it just down the road.
The Blair Drive Kids Pump Track, on town-owned land across from Jackson Hole Middle School, has become a major attraction, which would be a good thing if it weren’t 35 feet from the back door of someone’s home, bringing more noise and traffic than anyone expected.
“I’m not sure that we fully anticipated how popular this would be and the excitement around it,” Pathways Coordinator Brian Schilling said. “It’s a great problem to have, but it’s nevertheless a problem.”
Town officials worked with the neighbor, John Graham, to come up with a compromise: The track, which is currently just south of the community garden, will be moved to the north side, farther from his house.
“It’s obviously a great project,” Graham said. “People in the community want it, and it’s something we want to support. It’s just a question about how we do it right and responsibly.”
In addition, the town will build a second, larger track just down South Park Loop Road to serve as a “destination” bike park. It will sit on property owned by the Presbyterian Church of Jackson Hole, which offered to lease it to the town for at least two years.
When the Jackson Town Council approved the Pump Track in early 2018, it was envisioned as a place for young and beginning bikers to hone their skills. That’s still part of the idea behind expanding, especially considering the heavy use the first one has seen.
“I don’t look at this as just addressing a neighbor issue,” said Katherine Dowson, executive director of Friends for Pathways. “I look at it as growing and evolving the spaces for our youth.”
After the problems with the first park, though, several people suggested a more cautious approach to the new ones. Both will lie outside the standard 100-foot radius from any residences, but officials could, for example, incorporate landscaping to dampen noise and create pathways so children can get to the parks safely.
“If we’re going to put something in the new location, I’d like to see it done right,” said David Ellerstein, a Parks and Recreation Board member who lives near the proposed site of the new larger park.
However, Councilor Hailey Morton Levinson noted that the park on the church land isn’t a long-term solution and perhaps doesn’t require too much time and resources.
“This is temporary,” she said. “I just want to find that balance of investment, but also knowing that this is on private property and has been indicated as a temporary lease.”