Adventure Sports Update
In the winter of 2019, Parks and Recreation conducted a public meeting to discuss the community’s ideas for adventure sports such as skateboarding and mountain biking. This meeting had approximately 65 people (in person!)- so the voice and passion were obvious. These groups have been waiting a long time for opportunities in Denton, so they don’t have to travel to other cities for their hobbies. We’re listening, but sometimes it takes a little longer than some would prefer (let’s not even get started on COVID changing timelines).
Since that initial meeting, staff has explored skate parks and talked with industry leaders to understand what size of a skate park Denton should build in the future. We used a formula that considers the community population with an assumed percentage of participants. Skaters wanted something downtown close to the train. We’re still looking at what could be the best option, but Mack Park may be the best possible location outside of purchasing land. We would remove the roller hockey rink, basketball court, and a section of the sports field. Don’t worry- we would replace these elsewhere!
Funding for a skate park for Denton’s size is approximately $1,500,000, which includes design, construction, lighting, and support facilities. We haven’t figured out where this funding will come from yet.
The mountain bike enthusiasts were also present at the meeting wanting trails in Denton. This play space requires about 10 acres per trail mile to make sure the experience is enjoyable. A wide range of space, varying terrain, trees, shade, and open areas is also part of the environment surrounding a park of this type.
With this in mind, we explored an under-utilized space on the eastern side of Lake Lewisville where there was an old city landfill- but City Council thought that was too far from the core of the city. Back to the drawing board! Fortunately, we were able to find an undeveloped 239-acre parcel in northwest Denton off Hartlee Field Road. Thankfully, the Utilities Department allowed us to use about 200 acres for trails while maintaining a section for a future (needed) pump station.
Early this fall, Dr. Joseph Walker, UNT, began exploring the park to identify key areas for trail activity. Currently, we think that 7 miles of single-track trails can be designed into the property while still providing enough open space for riders not to feel cramped and crowded. From this point through January, staff marked the area for the trail. Since then, staff and volunteers have been clearing the trail. (Volunteer Here!)
Trail Crew Leader Volunteers underwent training on March 3, and they will oversee small groups of volunteers to help define, sculpt, and maintain the adventure trail. Over 150 biking enthusiasts have shown interest in helping, and staff is organizing the trail needs with the volunteers to help bring this project to reality. However, we have no decided funding for this project. That’s why we are grateful for the volunteers! With their help, we expect to get most of the mountain bike trails cleared.
Our staff will improve the parking lot off Hartlee Field Road to be the main parking for both adventure bikers and Clear Creek users. These improvements include an automatic timed gate, regrading of the gravel lot, increased mowing frequency around the pavilions and access to the maintenance barn, regular opening of the restroom, and a western entry from the Hartlee Field Branch to the mountain bike trail.
Volunteers are also working to improve connectivity from this north parking lot to the main trails in Clear Creek. Mountain bikes are not allowed in Clear Creek, and are hikers can’t be on the adventure trails. As part of the trail plan, a trail following Clear Creek is visioned. The proposed trail would follow the creek from FM428 east. Staff is identifying the trail along the creek and eastern property line over to the CCNHC for future development.
We will provide an update to City Council about this effort with a new immersive trails mapping system for residents to enjoy.