Kentwood ready to create its first mountain bike trail, in Stanaback Park
By Julie Makarewicz | The Grand Rapids Press... October 15, 2009, 7:32AM
KENTWOOD — Stanaback Park’s deep ravines, rough terrain and wooded areas could become home to the city’s first mountain bike trails.
Members of the Michigan Mountain Bike Association recently toured the park, north of 44th Street SE and east of Breton Avenue, and met with parks and recreation officials to discuss trail plans.
Director Charlie Ziesemer said the Parks and Recreation Commission gave its early blessing to the proposal, dependent on final contract agreements and liabilities. Harriet Stanaback, who donated the original 33 acres for the park, also agreed to a first phase of the project.
When Stanaback donated the land in 1998, she stipulated it be kept mostly in its natural state and used for passive recreation.
“I think it’s going to be a very good use for the property,” Ziesemer said of the trails. “They’re (MMBA volunteers) going to come in and do all the work and maintain the trail. It’s really a win-win for the city.”
Details still need to be settled, but MMBA volunteers seem eager to get started yet this year, if possible, Ziesemer said.
The park — the 33 acres donated by Stanaback plus 17 adjacent acres bought by the city this fall with state grants — includes some paved walking trails, a basketball court, restrooms, a picnic shelter and playground.
“It’s a beautiful park, and there are some very interesting natural features there,” said Martin Hall, a member of the Western Chapter of the association. “The ravines are tremendous, and it’s just a beautiful property where people can get close to nature.”
Hall said the park got high ratings from the MMBA because of its natural features, its proximity to other bike trails, and the large number of volunteers in the area to help with construction and maintenance.
If approved by the city, the trails will be built in phases. The first phase could have about four miles of mountain biking trails north of the paved trail, Hall said. If that goes well, a second phase might add another mile or two to the south side.
MMBA is a nonprofit organization with more than 2,500 members in nine chapters. Volunteers design, develop and maintain trails.
Other mountain bike trails in the area are in the Allegan State Game Area, Cannonsburg State Game Area and Cannonsburg ski area, Edward Creek and Greenville Shearer Road in Greenville, Grand River in Jenison, Luton Park Trail in Rockford, Riley Trails in Holland, Robinette’s in Grand Rapids, and Yankees Springs in Middleville.