Legion Lake bike trail proposal presented to Commissioners

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Are bike trails a future improvement at the county-maintained Legion Lake?
A recent consultant’s study shows more than four miles of mountain bike trails surrounding the lake and the Perry County Board of Commissioners was given a glimpse in late December.
Brett Shoffner out of Kansas City came down to do an assessment and his documentation was part of a study presented by Trish Erzfeld of Perry County Heritage Tourism which laid out plans the proposed bike or hiking trails.
Shoffner, of Nomad Trails Development LLC, performed a site visit at Legion Lake in Perryville Dec. 8 through a request from Erzfeld.
“The purpose of the site visit was to determine if the parkland surrounding Legion Lake was suitable for multipurpose trail development, hiking, trail running and mountain biking,” according to Shoffner’s assessment. “Specifically, we were asked to focus on proviking opportunities for Missouri NICA training and race facilities for middle school and high school mountain bike teams.”
“This is mountain biking,” Erzfeld told commissioners at a Dec. 28 meeting. “It can also be used for hiking. We’re proposing a multi-purpose trail. These trails will be used for multiple level of difficulty. You’ll have beginners, you’ll have intermediate and then you have advanced.
The proposed trail improvements call for five trails, two training “track” areas, plus updated bridges and signage at a cost of better than $266,362.
The initial plan presented to commissioners calls for:
•Inner Loop Trail – 1.9 miles (or 10,032 linear feet), $50,160;
•Outer Loop – 2.6 miles (or 13,728 linear feet), $68,640;
•Beginner flow – 0.3 miles (1,584 linear feet), $11,880;
•Intermediate flow – 0.24 miles (1,320 linear feet), $13,200;
•Advanced flow – 0.2 miles (1,056 linear feet), $15,840;
•Skills track – 7,500 square feet, an estimated 75 foot by 1000 foot area, $22,500;
•Pump track – 12,000 square feet, 100 foot by 120 foot area, $36,000;
•Bridges (with handrails) – 500 square feet, $22,400; and,
•Signage – $3,842.
Erzfeld spoke about a proposed “dirt pump track” as well as the bridges.
“This is a great place for kids to start their skills training,” she said. “The skills track would have minor obstacles for kids to practice on.” The plan calls for 10 bridges incorporated throughout the trail, five-feet in width, with curving. “This is all natural,” Erzfeld said. “It’s made out of dirt, stone and wood. We really don’t want to be up there when it’s too damp and wet and rutting up everything.”
“The maintenance we figure is about every two years,” Erzfeld said. “They can come back and do it. Anybody with some tarps, a flat shovel and a little bit of anger management can beat out a trail and put it back together.”
Hard surface tracks involve little to no maintenance, Erzfeld noted, but are estimated to be about three times the cost.
A lot of the preparation that we’re going through and preparing is so that it’s NICA approved, Erzfeld said.
“That’s for National Interscholastic Cycling Association,” she said. “This organization deals with kids sixth through 12th grade. They build teams and compete.
The association’s goals promote a strong mind, strong bodies and strong communities through cycling, Erzfeld said.
“It’s got a lot of potential about bringing in tourism, stuff like that,” District 2 Associate Commissioner Jim Sutterer said.
“It’s maximizing everything you guys have out there in a natural state and it’s bringing in tourism,” Erzfeld said.
“One of the big things is the co-existence of what’s already there with this particular deal,” said Perry County Clerk Jared Kutz. “The coolest thing is from an aesthetic standpoint you really don’t know it’s there.”
The proposed pump track and skills area would be an added feature.
“This is the first time that any kind of conversation has been had about utilizing the full 40-plus acres of this property,” Kutz said.
In her discussion with other cyclists about the proposal, Erzfeld noted many would enjoy utilizing the pump track area.
“Most of them are going to come back to the hub, and just like a kid at a sliding park they’re going to go down and come back up…they could spend hours doing that, if you give them something cool to do,” Erzfeld said.
“For the most part, it’s not going to be any different than it is now on a daily basis,” Kutz said.
A possible grant through the Missouri Department of Natural Resources could fund a significant portion of the cost, but this would need a 20 percent match, Erzfeld said.
The project has an estimated of $266,362, and support from the commission is something that could be a consideration during the budget approval later this month.
Not figured into the initial project cost is a pavilion with a few picnic tables plus a restroom.
“I think the next step is to talk to veterans groups (about this),” Kutz said, referring to those involved with AmVets and American Legion and others involved with veterans concerns. “This has a lot more legs or feet to it than the disc golf…That methodology has worked out well. It’s the respectful thing to do.”
At the conclusion of Erzfeld’s presentation, presiding commissioner Mike Sauer said he wanted to have county surveyor Tim Baer to look at the bike trail plans.
Kutz remains optimistic the trails could get constructed shortly after the county is notified of whether or not it will receive grant funding.
“I would expect upon notification of the grant status we would work diligently to get the project rolling as quickly as possible,” Kutz said. 

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