For many oil city news casper wy years, mountain bike races have been held in the South ridge area of Fontana, attracting competitors from all over the world.
But when a resolution came before the Fontana City Council to abandon about 9.9 acres of undeveloped city-owned parkland property in that region, many biking enthusiasts were alarmed, believing that the popular weekend racing events would no longer be able to take place.
With dozens of protesters in the audience, the City Council addressed the issue during the April 12 meeting and ended up voting in favor of the abandonment, but with the understanding that the city would do everything possible to ensure that the races could still continue.
Council member John Roberts, whose district includes the southern part of the city, said he agreed with many of the protesters.
“It sounds like there is a fair amount of interest in continuing this activity. What has been created down here is pretty unique,” Roberts said. “I was very impressed with the testimony I heard tonight. I thought it was very sincere and very valid.”
Council member Jesse Sandoval did not want the abandonment to immediately move forward. He asked if the resolution could table and brought back after further evaluation. Instead, the City Council approved it by a 4-1 vote.
The lengthy discussion focused on a triangular-shaped piece of property consisting of mostly flat, rocky terrain adjacent to South ridge Park. It has a small, unmaintained parking area that previously included a bird farm, but has been vacant since 1997.
Some of the bike races have occurred on trails that wind through three separate areas — South ridge Park, the undeveloped property, and privately owned hilly property.
Thirty people sent written correspondence to the city opposing the abandonment, and more than 20 spoke during the public comments portion of the meeting, including Don Jackson, who has been coordinating racing events at the location over a span of three decades.
Jackson indicated that the city benefits financially from the races. Saying that more than $400,000 a year is inject into the community and local businesses because of them.
“Please do not accept this as an abandoned park. We still use it,” Jackson told the City Council. “It may not have slides or baseball diamonds, but cycling is still a sport and is still a healthy activity for the community.”
Council member Phillip Cothran agreed and said he had a personal interest in wanting to make the racing area even-better.
“I’m a road bike guy,” Cothran said. “I would like us to continue to work with the group.”
Council member Peter Garcia and Mayor Acquanetta Warren also expressed a desire to meet the needs of the community members.
Deputy City Manager Phil Burum said in a staff report that the abandonment of the property. It would allow for a possible future sale which could be an improvement over the current situation.
“The nature and location of the property tends to invite nefarious activities that are not easily preventable,” Burum say.
Over the past year, the Fontana Police Department has call to the park. For enforcement activity or conducted extra patrols more than 150 times. Most calls were for public drinking, unauthorized encampments. Public sex acts, and drug usage, the city said. oil city news casper wy
Local residents had indicated a desire to make improvements to the existing South ridge Park area. (which includes the Don Day Center) at 14501 Live Oak Avenue. But funding is not currently available to make these upgrades, the city said. It would cost $16 million to make it a full, active park, Burum said. oil city news casper wy.