Atlanta BeltLine officials revealed this week that top-flight mountain biking trails, a pump track, and scenic hiking paths are bound for the city’s largest greenspace, minutes from the bustling urban settings of Midtown and downtown.

Landscape architect Kevin Burke, the BeltLine’s longtime director of design, said during a Westside Study Group meeting Monday that additions would come across roughly 45 acres at the northeast corner of Westside Park. The 280-acre greenspace opened its first phase two years ago this month.

According to Burke, new facets of Westside Park would be funded by an unnamed donor who approached the city and is “an avid mountain biker who travels all over to do this, loves pump tracks and is looking to create a signature facility” in Atlanta.

Overview of where new Westside Park features could be placed. Atlanta BeltLine Inc.

Roughly 2.5 miles of trails would be added total, with walking trails separated from those meant for mountain bikers of varying skill levels. Both the mountain-biking trails and pump track will “rival almost anything in the country,” said Burke during Monday’s meeting. “I think our donor’s goal is to do something a little bit unique that will set this apart.”

So what is a pump track? BikeTips defines them as looped circuits of “banked corners and smooth rollers—plus any other features riders might want to throw in” designed so riders are powered by their own momentum (i.e., pumping the bike) with no pedaling required.

Westside Park could see facilities geared toward riders from pros to a “tot track” for tykes, officials say.

Example of a pump track facility in biking-hotspot Arkansas that Atlanta's could take inspiration from, per ABI. Atlanta BeltLine Inc.

The steeply sloped corner of Westside Park in question is home to a long-abandoned trucking company facility, which early plans call for repurposing into a pavilion next to the pump track.

Beyond the trails, plans call for adding a parking lot for 80 vehicles, shade structures, cameras (but not in the woods), and a bridge that spans a scenic creek and helps connect the area to existing facets of the park.

Example of a more beginner-grade pump track. Atlanta BeltLine Inc.

For inspiration, Burke and company have looked to Bentonville, Arkansas—aka, the “Mountain Biking Capital of the World”—where Walmart heirs who are mountain-biking enthusiasts have helped turn the city into something of a mecca for the sport.

Burke said an extensive site survey that intends to retain and protect the area’s mature canopy remains to be completed.

“One of the things that is unique, just absolutely magnificent, is the tree canopy” in the park’s northeast corner, said Burke. “It is an absolute given that we will design this facility to not impact these big trees. There are a number of ways we can to that… we’re not even close to [finalizing] how we’ll do it.”

The scope of the Westside Park corner in question, situated between a hilltop greenspace (left) and the park's reservoir. Atlanta BeltLine Inc.

The next step involves fine-tuning the project’s scope and refining conceptual designs. We’ve asked BeltLine officials for a ballpark ETA on construction (and information on who the mystery donor is), and we’ll update this story with any additional details that come. [UPDATE: 5:56 p.m., August 2: BeltLine officials respond: The next step is design, which is expected to take about 12 months. We will know closer to the end of design how long construction should take, when it could start, and what the costs may be. As for the donor, it is the practice of the Atlanta BeltLine Partnership to respect private donors’ confidentiality and share news about donations once they are prepared to do so.]

In the gallery above, find more context and examples of what Westside Park’s facilities could look like.  


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