City of Chicago Gets First-Ever Dedicated Bike Park
Hard Work Finally Pays Off for Local Riders: Dirt Jumps/Bike Trails in Their Very Own Backyard!
February 16, 2010 - 3400 N Rockwell Street, Chicago, IL: an address that will always have deep historical significance for Chicagoans as the original home to Riverview Park, an extremely popular amusement park that lasted from 1903-1967. Since that time, the land has been separated into various zones, including retail shops, Lane Tech High School, Clark Park (made up of soccer fields and a canoe/kayak launch site), and now Chicago’s first ever bike park: The Garden.
Sitting atop land that had been undeveloped for many years, a wooded area once thought of as a hotbed of gang activity and other illegal activities, The Garden is a community project built by Chicagoland BMX and Mountain Bikers, the City of Chicago and the Chicago Park District.
As one of the few wooded areas close to downtown without specific zoning, local riders had attempted to use the land for recreational use with little to no success for nearly a decade. In the fall of 2008, the Chicago Park District were looking into the idea of plowing this land which prompted action by a group of local riders interested in putting the land to good use.
This group, led by Tim Hovey, Daniel Peter, and Jeremy Kawka, began to attend Park District meetings and crafted a proposal for the land. When they reached out to the West Chapter of the Chicago Area Mountain Bikers (CAMBr, a 503.C.3, non-profit organization credited with building and maintaining many riding destinations around the Chicagoland area), the momentum snowballed.
Delighted with their proposal, the Park District allowed the first, official construction of the bike park under careful watch during the summer of 2009. With shovels, wheelbarrows, piles of dirt (graciously donated by Lake Street Landscaping Supply), a chainsaw or two, and hard work, the riders not only built their bike trails, they also built fence-lined pedestrian walkways for nearby residents. On top of that, they worked alongside the Park District to clean the area of broken glass and assorted trash.
As the area began to take shape, the dedication of these riders, backed by CAMBr West, convinced the Park District to accept The Garden proposal and on March 1st, 2010, this land has been sanctioned as Chicago’s first-ever bike park!
With the City of Chicago and the Park District’s official blessing and warm weather just around the corner, The Garden Crew needs your help to get the trails back in shape for this momentous year. This park doesn’t build itself so stop by, check The Garden out and lend a hand; first workday of the year is scheduled for April 3rd, 2010.
On an even more exciting note, The Garden Crew and CAMBr West, are in the midst of planning an “extravaganza” sometime in the beginning of summer so stay tuned to facebook.com/CAMBr, CAMBr.org, thegardenjumps.com, and twitter/thegardenjumps for news, updates, trail conditions, workday information, fun facts, and other entertaining items.
Come out and play sometime but don’t be afraid to lend a hand – they can always use the help!