Proposed ‘wheels’ park rolls forward in Washington Fields

ST. GEORGE — A request made earlier this year by a young Washington County resident for a skateboard and scooter park has gained traction and grown to encompass the larger vision of a regional park to be built by the Southern Parkway in Washington Fields.

Washington City Councilman Kurt Ivie stands with 11-year-old CJ Nielson in asking the city to consider building a skate park for the city’s skateboarders and scooter riders, Washington City, Utah, March 11, 2020 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

During it’s March 11 meeting, the City Council head from 11-year-old C.J. Nielson, who asked, “Where are we supposed to skateboard, or ride our scooters, or do that? I think we’re one of the only places that doesn’t have a skate park or something like that. I feel we could change that.”

The boy was supported by Councilman Kurt Ivie, who was also the boy’s school teacher at one point.

The idea of a skateboard and scooter park was readily welcomed by the council and quickly transformed into the concept of a larger, multi-use park catering to all sorts of wheel-based activities.

“What we’re looking at is what I’d like to call a ‘wheels park,’” Ivie said as he stood before a large field of dirt and brush. Cars could be seen driving by on the Southern Parkway a ways off while the sound of construction was heard nearby as new homes were built along or near the future route of 3650 South that will tie into the Southern Parkway.

The general area between 3560 South and the Southern Parkway where a proposed ‘wheels’ regional park would be built. | Map courtesy of Google Maps, St. George News

A “wheels park,” Ivie said, would “entail skateboarding, a bicycle pump track, maybe a little RC track for remote control, and if it can be worked on … have some kind of venue for motorcycles to be used here.”

In addition to the concept of a wheels-based park, the area would also potentially include soccer and baseball fields, as well as have general park amenities such as a picnic area and playground.

“We want it to become a regional park where there is something for everyone,” Ivie said.

While the city owns some of the property in the general area, it has also submitted a Recreation and Public Purpose request to the Bureau of Land Management to allow the city to procure additional land for the proposed park.

A rider jumps their bike on the course at the Snake Hollow St. George Bike Park, St. George, Utah, Nov. 17, 2018 | File photo by Mikayla Shoup, St. George News

The City Council directed staff to submit the request to the BLM during a May 13 work meeting. Ivie told St. George News last week that the request had been received by BLM officials and they wanted to see more of what the city had in mind.

“It’s moving forward,” Ivie said.

A private citizen who owns property within the same area as the proposed park has also shown interest in partnering with the city to possibly add more ball fields at that location.

Part of the area where the proposed park would go is within a flood plain, which limits what can be built there, Ivie said. Because of this, he sees it as a good spot where a possible pump track could go as it would primarily consist of a dirt path and earthen mounds.

It could take up to a year for the BLM to review and approve the proposal, Ivie said, adding that it may take up to two years overall before construction begins on the park.

Washington City Councilman Kurt Ivie points out over a dirt field in the area of the future 3650 South-Southern Parkway Interchange that is proposed to become a ‘wheels’ regional park in Washington Fields. The park would cater to cycling, skateboarding, scooters and other wheel-based activities, May 14, 2020 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

Once built, the regional park will become the latest facility in the area to supply a bike pump track and similar functions. If the popularity of neighboring St. George’s Snake Hollow Bike Park is any indication, the wheels park in Washington City may also draw crowds and constant use.

“It’s wildly popular,” said David Cordero, St. George’s communications director. “It almost immediately found use from locals and people from out of town.”

The St. George Bike Park opened in November 2018. In nearby Santa Clara, work on a BMX bike track is also underway. Virgin also hosts its own BMX course.

As for potential funding, Ivie said the city plans to apply RAP tax funds and also apply for funds from Washington County in addition to what the city may be able to budget moving forward.

“I’m fairly optimistic that we’ll be OK on funding,” Ivie said, while also referring to the economic downturn left in the wake of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I think this would be a great asset to the community,” he said.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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