North Bend has formed a partnership with several local and area organizations to develop a 31-acre park for mountain biking and hiking, and the anticipated economic development that could come with increased recreation tourism to the city.
The land is valued at $2.3 million, said Gina Estep, the North Bend Director of Community and Economic Development, but the city’s share of the purchase price is only $300,000, because of a partnership with Si View Metropolitan Park District, which will be contracted to manage the park, plus funding from the King County Parks levy and a Conservation Futures program grant. Si View contributed another $300,000, the parks levy $400,000 and the Conservation Futures program awarded the project an unheard-of $1 million grant.
The partnership also includes the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance, which has pledged 2,000 volunteer hours to build trails in the new park.
“With the approval of tonight’s agenda bill, you will have a new park with hiking, mountain biking and canopy education,” Estep told the North Bend City Council March 7. They unanimously approved the agenda item.
The land had been slated for development of almost 100 homes. However, a low-impact development proposal for the site proved too expensive for the developer, Heartland, to pursue, so the company agreed to sell the property to the Trust for Public Land. North Bend and partners will be purchasing the property from this organization.
Several elected officials expressed their excitement for the purchase. Jonathan Rosen echoed a statement made by Mayor Ken Hearing during the State of the City address, that the city could stop growth fairly, only by acquiring land that would otherwise be developed.
Trevor Kostanich praised the city and staff’s foresight in acquiring a multi-million dollar property and major asset to the city for a fraction of its assessed value, and Jeanne Pettersen noted that the original owners of the property, a longtime North Bend family, would be pleased with the property’s future use.
Rosen also asked how soon the mountain biking park would be open. The projected opening will depend on when the partners can officially close on the property and on the availability of Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance volunteers, but optimistic projections set the opening date as some time this fall.