A perceived lack of transparency was the most common reason people spoke Monday against the Boise Parks and Recreation Department's plan for a bike park in Boise's Military Reserve.
They complained to the Boise Planning and Zoning Commission that,instead of soliciting public comment and incorporating it into their plans,Parks and Recreation simply unveiled its proposal and then held open house events to it. That rubbed some residents of the East End neighborhood, as well as Military Reserve enthusiasts, nature lovers and Foothills trail users, the wrong way.
Planning and Zoning commissioners agreed that Parks and Recreation should've been more proactive in gathering public input. But they denied an appeal that sought to overturn the planning staff's approval of permits for the bike park, saying they couldn't find an error in the staff's decision.
Opponents can appeal the decision to the City Council.
The J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation, a prominent charity that's funded recent projects such as the development of the Boise Whitewater Park and a much-lauded renovation of Rhodes Skate Park, plans to build a mountain bike skills park at Military Reserve. It would feature pump tracks, rollers and other features to help cyclists of all ages and abilities build and improve their skills. The bike park would occupy seven acres of what is now an off-leash dog area.
After finishing the park, the foundation would turn it over to the city of Boise. The city also plans to build a new dog park on a 3.7-acre basin just west of the bike park site. The dog park will force the relocation of an archery range, which Parks and Recreation hopes to put somewhere in Military Reserve.
Some of the plan's opponents worried that building the bike park would cause problems such as erosion and other environmental impacts, a loss of open space, more traffic on the roads leading to the park and additional bicycle traffic on the trails around Military Reserve, a 726-acre swath of land between the northeast corner of Downtown Boise and the Foothills.