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Thursday, May 01 2014 10:18 AM

City Council will hear reporton mountain bike park

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Plans for a possible mountain bike park in Tehachapi continue to move along.

According to public outreach coordinator for the City of Tehachapi, Michelle Vance, results from a feasibility study will be revealed to City Council members sometime in May.

Last year, the city hired Gravity Logic Inc., a group that specializes in planning mountain bike parks throughout the world, to conduct the study. Representatives from the company visited Tehachapi in November to visit with residents and survey potential locations for the park.

The city allocated $16,500 for the study, which takes into account a capital plan, labor costs, operating revenues, and visiting plans.

The results of the study show that the park is a more than $7 million investment. According to Vance, the next step in planning the park is to find a partnership with a developer to help invest along with the city.

Because of Tehachapi's proximity to larger cities like Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Bakersfield, the study carried out by Gravity Logic anticipates 40,000 visitors in the first year, and up to 100,000 visitors by its eighth year.

According to the study, 12 trails could be constructed at the park over a period of three years, ranging from $50,000 to $140,000 per trail. Each trail would vary, depending on skill level.

Vance said the park would comprise more than 53 miles of trail.

"It's a catalyst to our community," said Vance, who believes the park will give Tehachapi an enormous economic boost.

City Manager Greg Garrett echoed Vance's statement.

"It's a huge economic engine," said Garrett, who anticipates the park to generate a significant amount of revenue for local restaurants, shops and hotels.

The land where the city hopes to construct the park is located in Capital Hills, which encompasses parcels owned by three different groups, including Lehigh Southwest Cement and the Tehachapi Valley Recreation and Park District.

At the April meeting of the Greater Tehachapi Economic Development Council, Vance reported that the Tehachapi Mountain Trails Association has already begun building trail in the area. From the Gravity Logic feasibility report:

Tehachapi has a relatively modest population of approximately 37,000. While small in numbers, the town is huge in spirit. The support evident from the residents, landowners, small business, city staff and corporate citizens is unlike anything we have witnessed before. There appears to be a strong pent up demand for mountain bike trails, but presently very few areas that locals can ride. The proposed bike park and additional trail networks sure to follow are likely to attract a not insignificant number of new residents from nearby cities like Bakersfield and beyond. It has also been our experience that quality mountain bike facilities have the power to transform populations. While the number of dedicated mountain bikers residing in the city at present is relatively low, we would expect that such easy access to a world-class trail system will likely convert skeptics into believers, casual cyclists into passionate riders, and seasoned mountain bikers into the envy of all their friends who might not live as close by. With southern California riders having few gravity fed and purpose built mountain bike options to choose from, it is clear that Tehachapi will be able to draw riders from the Los Angeles metropolitan area and Bakersfield, but certainly has the potential to attract loyal riders from the smaller surrounding communities as well.

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