There was strong support Tuesday night for the city to build a bike park as part of an ongoing effort to redesign Santa Rita and Cundiff parks on the south end of Durango.
The BMX track at Cundiff is over capacity because the BMX team shares it with the Durango DEVO cyclists, who use it for training, said Travis Brown, a DEVO board member and cycling advocate. The cycling community needs a pump track for cyclists of different skill levels to practice, he said.
“We cannot wait for 10 or 15 years,” Brown said.
Although the city plans to explore building a bike park on Ewing Mesa, southeast of downtown Durango, that idea would take longer to plan than it would to upgrade cycling options at Cundiff.
The city is asking residents for ideas about how to redesign the two parks in tandem because they are linked by a short stretch of the Animas River Trail.
“We are looking at that whole corridor and how it ties together,” said Walter Christensen, a landscape architect with DHM Design, to a crowd of about 80 people at Tuesday night’s public meeting. The city contracted the company to design the parks.
Christensen encouraged the crowd to think about the big picture and how the use of one park might influence plans for the other.
“These parks don’t have to be one thing. They can create a diverse experience for the whole community,” he said.
For example, between the parks along the Animas River Trail, the city could install features such as exercise equipment, art installations or signs that would draw people down the trail, he said.
The parks could also have interdependent parking. Ample parking in Santa Rita could be used as overflow for an event happening in Cundiff Park.
Ken White, president of the Rivergate Lofts homeowners association, suggested building an amphitheater at Cundiff that would face the river bank so that attendees could look out over the river.
Development at both parks will likely be completed in phases, and the designs will help determine the budget, said Scott Chism, the city’s landscape architect. Reconstruction of Santa Rita Park, along Camino del Rio, is expected to start in 2019 after the major work at the wastewater treatment facility is finished.
Construction has overtaken the large grassy field at Santa Rita, but that will be restored in some way to the park system, and the city wants to determine now how it should be used.
Much of Cundiff Park is dominated by a parking lot, a BMX track and a bridge. The BMX track is likely to remain in the park for the next 10 years, but it could be reoriented within the park, Chism said.
Durango resident Gregg Dubit said he supported a variety of uses at both parks. But in the short term, he wants the city to mitigate dust and upgrade the roads and bathrooms at Cundiff.
“These are highly used parks and they need some improvement,” he said.