For over four years, we’ve been building trails, selling t-shirts, getting kids on bikes, supporting neighborhood gatherings, going to meetings, meeting with important people. Some things are clearly visible, but a lot happens behind the scenes. It’s been awhile since we’ve had some big, public news about MBP. But, it’s been well worth the wait, and all the time we’ve invested has paid off. We’re about to build a bike park!!!
With the help of Alpine Bike Parks and funded by the MBP Founder’s Club, The SF Urban Riders Bike Park Committee wrote and submitted a Community Opportunity Fund grant application at the end of June. The awards were to be announced in September. Groups usually submit applications for this grant multiple times before winning, and this was our second time. In September we were notified that the selection committee was a few people short, and that selections would be delayed until the end of the year. SFUR has been working diligently toward a bike park for over four years, we’ve been fully vested in the surrounding community, and knew this year we had a strong application. So, we’ve been waiting very patiently, yet anxiously, until now…
On January 9th, I received a surprise call from Phil Ginsberg, General Manager of SF Recreation and Park Department, congratulating SF Urban Riders and McLaren Bike Park on receiving the COF grant. And the next day, we received an email from Jacob Gilchrist, Project Manager with SF Recreation and Park with the list of winning projects.
The Community Opportunity Fund Project Selection Committee had made its recommendations to the Recreation and Park Commission for the award of Round 3 projects. They received over $3.5 million in requests and had just $1.25 million available for award. So, we are incredibly fortunate to have won the second largest grant in the group at $249,835.
The winning projects will be presented at the Recreation and Park Commission Capital Committee Meeting on February 6. Assuming Capital Committee approval, the full Commission would take final action on February 21.
Here’s a project Summary from our McLaren Bike Park COF Grant application:
San Francisco Urban Riders is proposing the design and installation of a youth‐focused bike park in a vacant area of McLaren Park. This proposed project is the first phase of a larger bicycle park as shown on the attached conceptual master plan that has been approved by SFRPD following the community design meeting process. This shovel ready project will create a facility for individuals looking to learn or improve their basic bike riding skills, and aesthetically pleasing passive areas for parents and other constituents. The project will create an engaging and innovative park amenity that resonates with teenagers, many of whom are underserved and at risk.
Supported by neighborhood community groups and the cycling community, the park will fill a demonstrated need in the community. The park will provide an accessible and dedicated space for cyclists to improve their skills, while providing a safe area for the community to passively participate.
The completed project will be broken down into approximately three phases. The COF grant will fund the first phase, which includes:
- Multi‐use plaza and lawn
- Beginner Bike Skills Trail with Flow Form Technical Trail Features
- Youth BMX/MTB Pump Park with Flow Form Technical Trail Features
- Tree and drought‐tolerant native species plantings
- Irrigation for current phase, stubbed out for future phases
- Picnic and passive rest area
Subsequent phases will be funded by additional grants and fundraising projects. SF Urban Riders and Alpine Bike Parks are already partnering with SFRPD to secure additional fundraising. There’s still much work to be done, but the COF grant is the first domino to fall, and will help immensely in securing more funding.
- January TBD – Come celebrate the awarding of the COF grant, ask questions, and find out how you can get involved. Look for meeting date, location and time to be announced shortly.
- January 26 – Come lend a hand improving trails in McLaren Park. Click here for more info.
- February TBD – Come out to the SFRPD Commission meeting and show your support for McLaren Bike Park and the COF grant award.
- March 30 – Participate, volunteer or spectate in the San Francisco Mountain Bike Festival Fundraiser on March 30th in McLaren Park. Click here for more info.
We’re also making one last push for Founder’s Club donations. This is the time to support future grant writing, so donate! We’re making this park happen and founders will have their name attached to the park. But, space is limited to 20 Industry founders. 20 Bike Shop founders and 50 individual founders. So donate now, and encourage your biking friends to do the same. This is especially huge for industry and bike shop folks. Once the park is near completion, sponsorship will be less affordable. This is a chance to put your name on the park, show you supported it from the beginning, and help fund the next phases of construction asap!!!
Huge thanks to everyone at the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department, The COF Selection Committee, and our fiscal host, SF Parks Alliance. Thanks to all the community organizations and supporters that came out for meetings, wrote letters, bought t-shirts and rallied for the cause.
Big props to Industry founders Gamut USA, Custom SLR and Ride SFO. Our non-profit founders, the Mary A. Crocker Trust and the Matt Peterson Fund. And to all of our individual founders. Thanks to Dan Schneider, SF Urban Riders Executive Director, Tom Borden my Co-project manager. Thanks to Alpine Bike Parks for putting time against this, even when they didn’t know if they’d get paid. And to everyone that’s come to a meeting, picked up a shovel, written a letter, bought a shirt, or voiced their support for the park. Lets keep it going!!!
McLaren Bike Park Project Manager
SF Urban Riders Board Member