Council wrap-up: pump house in, pump track out

JACKSON, Wyo. — Council members voted Monday to move the skills loop portion of the bike park known as the pump park near Blair Drive after complaints it has become too much of a good thing.

Immediate neighbor John Graham originally attended meetings and approved of the park going in two years ago, but since then, and especially after quarantining more at home, the heavy use has become too much.

“It’s a double-edged sword,” Graham told the council.

Graham admitted the park was very popular on one hand but the intensity of use is not appropriate for the location.

Mayor Pete Muldoon agreed.

I think it’s worth noting the neighbor here that is impacted was originally supportive of the park in the beginning,” Muldoon said. “We’ve heard comments about NIMBYism, but I’ve been extremely supportive of bike infrastructure since I’ve been in office. There are just times when you are talking about a really concentrated use right in somebody’s backyard.”

An alternate location nearby at the Presbyterian Church was also ruled out because of the high cost of insuring the property. That left the council with little alternative but to move the skills loop portion somewhere in the spring when Parks & Rec is better staffed to handle the job.

“Though it pains me to remove infrastructure, it’s the right thing to do here,” Muldoon lamented.

Councilman Arne Jorgensen said the bike park reminded him of the same type of dilemmas the town has with a dog park. Both are well-loved and much-needed, but the intensity of use can be hard on neighbors.

Rather than one site, Jorgensen suggested the town look at three or four scattered around the community to better distribute the impact. Councilman Jim Stanford said that would just make for three or four more problems with neighbors.

Stanford thought issues could be solved with better sound-buffering landscaping but sympathized with neighbors who have to deal with an increase in noise. “I know what it’s like when formerly quiet space in your neighborhood starts to become a circus,” he said.

Hailey Morton Levinson said she is intimately aware of how important the park is to the community—her own family uses it often—but agreed it might not be the best-placed park. She added that she would be committed to seeing the pump park find another home.

Snow King snowmaking pump house approved

Councilman Jim Stanford expressed some concern over the big jump in snowmaking ability a new pump house would allow—an increase from the current capacity of 600 gallons per minute to 2,000 gallons per minute.

“Where is that water going to come from?” Stanford asked town engineer Brian Lenz.

Lenz assured Stanford another well would not have to be drilled, town residents would bear no financial burden, and that planned expansion of neighboring water line infrastructure on Vine and around Phil Baux Park would likely be shared between the town (that planned on beefing up the lines anyway) and Snow King.

Lenz added that water usage for snowmaking in winter paled in comparison to irrigation use during the summer, so the availability of water was not an issue.

Snow King’s pump house was approved along with a $3,000-a-month lease to park the gondola on town property in Phil Baux Park.

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