Lebanon wants to double size of bike park, be part of new Ohio league

Lebanon is planning to double the size of its new outdoor bike park in hopes of establishing it as an official race site for a new interscholastic league for mountain bikers.

“Ohio is starting a mountain bike league,” said K.C. Stallings, a Lebanon park board member.

Last month, the Ohio Mountain Bike League submitted an application to National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) to join about 25 states with leagues for middle- and high-school riders.

To qualify as a NICA race site, a trail needs at least four miles of length, about twice the length of the existing Premier Health Atrium Medical Center Bike Park in Lebanon.

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Dave and Melody Oeder have agreed to sell the city 54 acres adjoining the bike park, off the Ohio 48 Bypass and Turtlecreek-Union Road for $475,000, about $100,000 below the appraised value, according to a summary sheet for the project.

On Tuesday, Lebanon City Council authorized the city manager to apply for a $429,000 grant to cover the bulk of the purchase price. The bulk of the estimated project cost would be covered through park impact fees and general funds available since work at Miller Ecological Park came in under budget, City Manager Scott Brunka said.

“I think this is extremely exciting,” Councilwoman Wendy Monroe said.

The city expects to know next month if the grant is awarded.

Later this month, advocates for the interscholastic mountain bike league expect to learn if their application has been approved. A fund-raising effort is ongoing to raise start-up funds.

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“For Ohio to be finally catching the wave is awesome,” said Stallings, a bike shop owner.

Already the Cincinnati-Dayton area offers more than 60 miles of mountain bike trails, according to Stallings.

In addition to qualifying it as a NICA site, Stallings said the expansion would draw riders from an even wider area.

“Mountain bikers like a little bit more distance,” she said on Wednesday. “You have to have at least five miles of trail, if not more, to make it a destination to drive to.”

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