Boise & Garden City

Military Reserve bike skills park gets final OK, and it might open before you expect

After months of back-and-forth at City Hall, the Boise Parks and Recreation Commission has approved a bike skills park and dog park in the Military Reserve recreation area northeast of Downtown. The J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation will pay for the bike park.
After months of back-and-forth at City Hall, the Boise Parks and Recreation Commission has approved a bike skills park and dog park in the Military Reserve recreation area northeast of Downtown. The J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation will pay for the bike park.

The Boise Parks and Recreation Commission unanimously gave final approval Thursday to a proposed bike skills park and dog park in the Military Reserve recreation area northeast of Downtown Boise.

The bike park will be located on seven acres that’s now used as a dog off-leash area. The new dog park will be just north of that. Construction will begin as soon as possible, Parks and Recreation Director Doug Holloway said in a telephone interview Thursday night after the commission’s vote. Weather permitting, he said, the bike park could be ready to use this summer.

The J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation is paying to develop the bike park.

Public opinion on the park was split Thursday, as it has been since March, when plans for it came to light. Proponents told the commission it will turn a goathead-laden pit into an amenity where bike enthusiasts, especially children, can hone their skills on controlled obstacles and paths before taking their bikes out into the Foothills.

Opponents, many of whom live near the park, said it will degrade a mostly undisturbed piece of the Foothills and sacrifice wildlife habitat in favor of a noisy attraction. One of the most common complaints was that the city and foundation had worked in secret to develop a plan for the park without doing enough to involve the public.

Some worried that the bike park will undermine the lot’s function as a catch basin for runoff that might otherwise flood the homes and roads around it. But Holloway said the opposite is true. In October, the City Council required a design change that will increase the land’s capacity for runoff storage by 5,000 cubic yards.

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