JACKSON, WY — There’s an extra celebration at the finish line of the 44th annual Karen Oatey Pole Pedal Paddle this weekend. In the midst of the Pole Pedal Paddle excitement and awards, the Astoria Park Conservancy will also hold a short groundbreaking ceremony to kick off the construction of Astoria Hot Springs Park.
Astoria Parks Conservancy Executive Director Paige Byron Curry said she’s “so excited to host [PPP] once again. “It’s an opportunity to share what the park will be for families, athletes, and more.”
Astoria Park Conservancy and The Trust for Public Land have been working closely with the public since 2013 to bring back the riverfront park that locals loved back in the 90s. Under Curry’s leadership, the project just completed its $6 million funding campaign in February, which means construction can officially begin to rebuild the mineral hot springs pool and surrounding park. It just so happens that Pole Pedal Paddle ends at Astoria every year, and Curry is a long-time Ski Club supporter and alum.
“A huge part of why all this came together because of Paige Byron [Curry],” said JHSC Chief Marketing Officer Jeff Moran. “She’s an alum of the club, been a big supporter, and was actively involved in PPP for many years … It’s been a really great partnership.”
And it’s only going to get better. Imagine, Moran said, finishing that freezing final stretch of the race on the Snake River and being able to celebrate with a dip in a hot pool. There’s always a bit of a lag between when the first finishers arrive and the awards ceremony, and the new park will give racers and fans alike something to do and a way to stay warm in the downtime.
Curry said what she loves most about the partnership is how closely the two organizations’ values align. Both the Ski Club and Astoria Park Conservancy are, at their core, about “bringing residents together and making people have opportunities to exercise outside no matter their age, ability, or income level.”
Astoria Park will begin in earnest as soon as the ground is thawed enough this spring. Curry is hoping for a May 2020 grand opening.
Moran added that the Snake River Sporting Club has been always been a big supporter of the Park Conservancy and the Ski Club, and that support has only gotten bigger as land and responsibilities have changed hands. “It’s a really good partnership. It’s good to know from our end that we’ve got so much support,” he said.
Rocky Mountain Bank and Teton Laser Center are the official groundbreaking sponsors, so big thanks to them too, Curry said.
The PPP is the third and final event in JHSC’s Triple Crown Series and is one of JHSC’s biggest fundraisers of the year. Toast with beer from Melvin Brewing, enjoy food, games, and witness the crowning of the Triple Crown King and Queen.
The Astoria ceremonial shovel will break ground at 12:30 p.m. this Saturday, March 23, following a few words from project leaders and from Teton County Board of County Commissioners Chair Natalia Macker. By then, Curry and Moran expect most of the racers will have finished. The PPP awards will follow shortly after.