By Jenna-Lee Neff
Competitive mountain bikers in Peoria could have the chance to keep their skills sharp by the end of 2022 after the city council recently approved a nearly $30,000 grant to bring a new trail to the Paloma Regional Preserve.
“This is our first attempt of bringing a directional mountain biking trail to Peoria,” says Peoria’s Field Operations and Planning Services Manager Brandon Putman. “The White Tank Regional Park was our inspiration for the rules and trail etiquette. The location was chosen for its existing natural rock outcropping offering the opportunity to create challenge with minimal disturbance to the area.”
According to information from a recent city council meeting, the trail will provide families of all abilities the opportunity to challenge and improve their skills. It has been designed to be ridden north to south and will include a technical section with 12 features that allow beginner and advanced riders to choose their skill levels, followed by a speed section that will “give riders the thrill of speed.” The proposed trail is approximately three-quarters of a mile.
“During passive use, riders will be encouraged to ride the course from the north to the south. Hikers are welcome to enjoy the trail as well, but we ask they hike in reverse, south to the north, and yield to any riders on the course,” Putman says.
According to information from the meeting, the Parks and Recreation Department – Trails Division applied for the Outdoor Tourism Grant of the Visit Arizona Initiative (VAI) Grant Program. The awarded Arizona Office of Tourism Outdoor Recreation Revitalization Grant is for $29,000 and requires a 10 percent match from the trails operating fund, bringing the total cost of the project to $32,500.
The VAI Grant Program was created to provide recovery assistance to the state’s tourism industry, with information from the meeting showing that Peoria may seek to host an annual mountain biking event after completion of the trail. For now, Putman says the trail is more of a skills development course where young riders can work up to more challenging features in the technical section.
“Once [the trail is] formulated and receiving user responses, we will look to develop competitive event programming using the skills course, which includes collaborating with event promoters, drawing competitors from across the Valley and neighboring states,” Putman explains.
He says the next steps of creating the trail include getting jurisdictional approvals from different regulatory agencies. With no significant snags in the plan, he says he expects those approvals by the end of summer. “Construction is minimal and is anticipated to be done in the fall of this year,” he adds.
Putman also noted that Peoria is already a bike-friendly city, utilizing street bike lanes, multi-use pathways and other mountain trails to keep cyclists riding. He says the city is excited for the trail concept to meet the increased demand for more interesting and exciting bike terrain.
To keep up to date with the latest developments on this project, visit peoriaaz.gov.