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Messages - Kevin M

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Wapehani / Re: Take A Kid Mountain Biking Day 10/4
« on: September 25, 2014, 09:19:37 AM »
Yes! If you're available for even an hour between 10 AM - 2 PM on Saturday 10/4, we could definitely use your help.

If anyone wants to help prep the trails and has time next week, please get in touch.

And for those who can't volunteer, please spread the word to your friends with kids! Remember, the event is at RCA Community Park this year, not Wapehani.

Wapehani / Take A Kid Mountain Biking Day 10/4
« on: August 27, 2014, 10:01:35 AM »
Save the date, everyone! This year Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day is on Saturday, October 4th.

Since the beginner loop at Wapehani is broken by I-69, I have secured permission to hold the event at the much more family-friendly RCA Community Park. (I've been rerouting the old hiking trails there, and while the new trails aren't bike-optimized, they should be perfect for an introductory event like this.)

Thanks to Revolution Bike & Bean for their past and continuing support of this event! If you are interested in volunteering to help out, please get in touch.

Wapehani / Re: I69 and Wapehani
« on: July 30, 2014, 08:18:43 AM »
Reroutes north of the lake have been approved, corridors have been cleared, and I've already started working at the NW corner up by the apartments.

South side has tentative approval, but given proximity to the karst features we need to take a closer look. This will be the area that needs the most work, since we have to create a big junction on top of pulling the trail back into the treeline. I'll also be replacing the little tulip tree skinny up there with a properly built and longer feature.

Wapehani / Re: I69 and Wapehani
« on: July 21, 2014, 10:23:18 PM »
We're getting close! I was hoping for this coming weekend, but that's looking unlikely.

The plan is to begin in the northwest corner and work south along the right of way.
The first two sites are flagged and rhino-ready. Two switchberms, basically, and a little realignment. I just need to do a final walk thru with the Natural Resources Manager.

Wapehani / Re: I69 and Wapehani
« on: June 19, 2014, 08:54:00 AM »
Great news! INDOT has given us the green light to begin trail relocation and mitigation work beginning 1 July (the new fiscal year)!

More details to come, but plan on at least one major work session in mid to late July.

Wapehani / Re: Spring 2014 Projects
« on: May 23, 2014, 08:23:49 AM »
Alright! Let's get something done. Sunday, May 25th. 1 PM in the parking lot.

Wapehani / Re: Spring 2014 Projects
« on: May 20, 2014, 08:01:00 AM »
I'm game for this Sunday afternoon if we can get a few more people. I know it's Memorial Day weekend and some people may be out of town, but right now it's the best, soonest option.

Wapehani / Re: I69 and Wapehani
« on: May 14, 2014, 09:49:59 AM »
I've had to do some research and have some conversations in order to address some of your questions, and here's what I can tell you:

1. The City signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with INDOT and the US FHWA regarding mitigation of the de minimis impacts upon Wapehani resulting from the updating of Hwy 37 to I69. The total compensation agreed upon was not to exceed $460, 172. The President of the Board of Parks Commissioners was the final signatory to this agreement on 6 June 2013. This MOA is public record and can be obtained by request through the City's Legal Dept (see the PDF on this City webpage).

2. This total compensation is further subdivided: some of it for a tree screen, some of it for the boardwalk/bridge replacement, some of it for trail replacement, and some of it for real estate value--which is itself divided into the value of City property and the value of Parks Foundation property (the karst plateau between Hoosier Energy and Hwy 37 is actually owned by the Foundation). We can't spend tree money on trails or trail money on real estate, but my understanding is that real estate money could be spent however Parks (and/or the Foundation) wants to, if it wants to. I don't have the complete breakdown of funds by category, but I'm looking into it. That might also turn out to be something for which interested riders would have to file a Public Records request.

3. The eighth point of agreement of the MOA includes terms relevant to trail replacement, namely, that the City has to "complete a Public Interest Finding or a Determination of Cost Effectiveness, which must be approved by FHWA before the City may perform any work with its own forces under this MOA." Basically, the trail replacement requires building--preferably by hand, to harmonize with the existing singletrack--such short segments that it seemed more cost effective and quicker to do that work the same way we've redeveloped the trail system over the last few years: Parks staff supervising experienced volunteers. I do not know when the City filed paperwork to pursue this option, but from what I've been told INDOT is waiting on a reply from the FHWA. I walked all of the proposed reroute corridors with one of our consultants and we have a map showing where we can work (I'll see if I can make that available as a .kmz or a screenshot at least).

4. The new boardwalk/bridge is a separate issue. That will have to be contracted out according to the INDOT/FHWA processes, and once again it is my understanding that both Parks and INDOT are waiting on guidance from the Feds.

5. Basically, if you have detailed questions or want further clarification, your queries are best directed to any of the Parks management named in my post above, the Parks Board of Commissioners, your City Council person, or the INDOT Section 5 offices.

Wapehani / Re: Spring 2014 Projects
« on: May 14, 2014, 08:13:16 AM »
Between the weather and my schedule, weeknight evenings just aren't in the cards this week.

But who's up for a Sunday afternoon work session? I'm thinking south side, improving an intersection or two, which would include some armoring.

Wapehani / Re: I69 and Wapehani
« on: May 07, 2014, 09:30:03 AM »

I agree that the loss of the continuity is a major issue, even though technically and legally it's a "de minimis" impact. It's frustrating for me, as well. We are supposed to be getting a tree screen (I think pine), which I have heard will be planted before the interstate construction even begins. But I have no timeline.

I wish I had more news about I69 rerouting and a new boardwalk; the last I knew our permission to make the necessary corrections to the southwest and northwest corners was still tied up in paperwork. I can't even do the flagging and layout until we get approval. INDOT passed along a recommendation to Parks about a bridge/boardwalk contractor, but I haven't heard anything since.

If you have questions about the timeline for trail and boardwalk replacement, you might try emailing them to parks@bloomington.in.gov. You can also try more specific, directed emails to:

Mick Reneissen, Director (renneism@bloomington.in.gov)
Dave Williams, Operations and Development Director (williamd@bloomington.in.gov)
Steve Cotter, Natural Resources Manager (cotters@bloomington.in.gov)

Otherwise I'll let you know when I know anything new.

As far as expansion to the East...well, that's a big issue (real estate, development, economics, politics). We did contract with Spectrum Trail Design to develop a plan for park expansion as part of our "Journey to Platinum" (generously funded by the City's Redevelopment Commission), so we do have ideas about how the trail system could grow and improve. Given the complexity of the issue, you might try bringing it to the attention of your City council person or contacting City Planning staff (here's the City Directory https://bloomington.in.gov/directory).

If you have other questions, come out to a volunteer work session (post up to the 2014 Spring Projects thread about your availability).

Wapehani / Spring 2014 Projects
« on: May 07, 2014, 09:14:38 AM »

I've been fairly busy this spring at other parks, but I'm ready to get back to grooming our local singletrack when you are. I've been stockpiling rock for some small armored berms at several locations on the south side, and there are also two intersections on the south side (just uphill from the spillway) that I would like to improve.

Are there any evenings or weekends that work better for everyone?

Other than that, there's always plenty of pruning to be done--especially on the PIC side of things. This is great self-paced work for folks who don't have time for regular group work sessions.

And I'm always open to suggestions for improvements, too.

Looking forward to getting our momentum back!

Wapehani / Re: I69 and Wapehani
« on: February 27, 2014, 09:07:53 AM »
Wapehani has certainly had a rough time of it over the years, even before it was the city's mtb park.

It's worth pointing out that the Mill Creek development is all on private property and we pulled all of our informal trails off those lots several years ago; we officially acquired the sinkhole parcel in between those lots and the highway as a result of a donation from the developers.

If it seems like the recreational experience is being degraded b/c of development, I guess my best advice would be to advocate for park expansion to the east.

Wapehani / Re: I69 and Wapehani
« on: February 26, 2014, 07:41:51 AM »
Update: Clearing limits have been staked and heavy machinery was at work yesterday morning down at the 37/Tapp intersection. As of yesterday, the activity was still outside the existing fence but I imagine it will be moving into the park quickly.

Be careful approaching the west edge of the park and be prepared to turn around if you encounter tree clearing crews.

Wapehani / No Bikes at Griffy!
« on: February 19, 2014, 08:34:35 AM »
I see that someone's been snowbiking at Griffy, mainly down the Creek and Lanam Trails. Late last fall I also noticed some ruts on the Hiking Trail.

In case anyone doesn't know this, there is no biking at Griffy. Period. Wapehani is the only one of the City's natural areas in which bikes are allowed. In fact, we have Wapehani b/c bikes were kicked out of Griffy in the '80s.

Aside for a local racer with a Polish accent who shall remain unnamed, in four years I've never personally encountered a mountain biker at Griffy, but I do sometimes find evidence and we get the occasional complaint. Just don't do it. Thanks.

Wapehani / Re: I69 and Wapehani
« on: February 07, 2014, 07:43:17 AM »
Yes, it's true, tree-clearing for Section 5 has begun. This will include the Wapehani takings area (staked along the western edge of the park) and it will have to be completed before the end of March to conform with regulations about bat habitat.

I do not have any firm information on when exactly the crews will reach Wapehani or what kind of fencing will be put up, but unfortunately once the trees are cleared all of our major loops will be broken.

Do not expect a functional Lake Loop this summer. We will be getting a new boardwalk (longer, wider, better), but we're getting federal money to build it so we have to play by federal rules to spend it...which translates to a lot of consultants, contractors, and paperwork.

While reconnecting the loops in the southwest and northwest corners will only require minor corrections, I don't know when we'll be able to construct those. We're looking into a "Public Interest Finding" that would allow us to complete these small corrections by hand instead of going through the process of finding an INDOT pre-approved contractor with experience building mountain bike trails. I am not directly involved in that application process, but I'll keep you informed as I learn more.

Please do not try to trample in your own connections once we lose the takings area. I'll line up some projects to improve the park while we're waiting for permissions.

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