Development preserving open space for trails, mountain biking breaks ground

ST. GEORGE — Ground was broken last week for a master planned community in the Green Valley area west of Sunbrook that embraces and preserves terrain renowned its mountain biking trails and competitions.

At the groundbreaking to the Divario master planned community in Green Valley, St. George, Utah, June 7, 2019 | Photo courtesy of the Divario development group, St. George News

On Friday, developers and members of the community gathered for the ceremonial groundbreaking of Divario, a 730-acre master planned development slated to feature over 200 acres of open space for hiking and trails, as well as allow well-known mountain biking competitions like the True Grip Epic, the Red Rock Rampage to continue in the area.

“Upon seeing this property, we knew we had something special and a beautiful canvas on which to develop a great place for primary and second homeowners who will benefit from nearby city services and appreciate the beauty and utility of the land,” Mark Schnippel, the managing partner of the Divario development group, said in a press release on the groundbreaking.

“Learning about the site’s history as a mountain biking mecca complements the lifestyle we want to create,” he said. “We’ve been fortunate to work with the city of St. George, Bureau of Land Management and the mountain biking community to make Divario a reality and preserve its trails.”

With its tough terrain, texture and views, the area known as Green Valley has been a favorite for mountain bikers and other outdoor enthusiasts since the late 1990s and has since become the site of four major cycling competitions: the True Grit Epic, the Red Rock Rampage, The Huntsman World Senior Games and the National Interscholastic Cycling Association High School Championship.

Mark Teepen, another member of Divario’s development group, told St. George News on Wednesday that the races will stay the same, “though some will be rerouted a little due to development.”

This St. George News 2014 file photo shows a competitor at the Red Rock Rampage mountain bike race, St. George, Utah, March 1, 2014 | File photo by John Teas, St. George News

Teepen, who has been involved with the project since 2007, said he is excited to finally see it come to fruition.

What eventually evolved into the Divario master planned community was the result of developers working with the city of St. George, local mountain biking groups and the BLM to create something Teepen said is unique to the area.

One of the unique qualities he attributed to the development is the fact it borders on BLM land on its west side and will allow direct access to that area through open space rather than force St. George residents to have to go around and possibly out of town to get to it.

In addition to being heavily used by mountain bikers, the BLM also has an established series of trails in the area that Divario’s open space will connect to.

“We’re working to keep that connectivity for the residents of St. George,” Teepen said, adding, “All the open space we are creating with these trails will be dedicated to the city, so its not something we could shut off and keep the public from accessing.”

A part of the Divario development site, in Green Valley, St. George, Utah, June 2019 | Photo courtesy of the Divario development group, St. George News

In addition to the over 200 acres of open space, a 20-acre events center is planned that will serve as the home for the mountain biking competitions, as well as other events.

Cimarron Chacon, who organizes several of the mountain biking events, said the mountain biking community was grateful to have a place at the table with developers as Divario came together.

“It was of great concern to our community to maintain access to such a rich recreational resource for both locals and visitors alike,” Chacon said in a statement.

“It has been thrilling to be at the table helping to shape this new community that will include access to all the traditional trails and climbing routes via new and exciting single-track trails that will pass through and around each section of the community,” she said. “To know that our racing history will not be lost to development, but instead embraced and even enhanced is the most exciting part of this partnership.”

A render of an entry into he Divario master planned community slated for the Green Valley area in St. George, Utah | Photo courtesy of the Divario development group, St. George News

St. George Mayor Jon Pike told St. George News he likes the way the project has evolved.

“The developers are gearing it to the typography and preserving the biking and hiking areas.”

What became Divario was originally called “The Lakes,” with previous plans of creating large bodies of water within the community. That concept was eventually dropped as the project moved forward, Teepen said.

Divario is also being touted as St. George’s first mixed-use master plan community, as it will feature multiple zoning for residential units, as well as 25 acres of commercial space. Two parks are also planned for the development: The development’s first phase will feature a 5-acre park, with the city of St. George planning for a 25-acre community park as the building moves forward.

The development is approved for over 3,000 homes, with 800 single-family and multifamily homes to be constructed during the first phase.

Home prices in the first neighborhood will start in the upper $300,000 range.

Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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