City crews will seal off the riparian corridor next to Left Hand Creek Park, closing it to kids using the area as an unsanctioned bicycle course.
New fencing, signs and increased city ranger patrols will be used to keep the Left Hand Creek corridor off-limits to cyclists who have damaged the pathway. City council this week voted for the measures to block access and also directed that $9,000 be used from the Parks and Open Space budget to slowly restore the disturbed riparian corridor.
Some council members wanted to take roughly half of the city council’s existing $67,000 contingency fund to pay for $35,000 in recovery efforts for the corridor and to completely remove the bicycle skills area.
But most agreed with Councilmember Aren Rodriguez, who said the contingency fund should remain intact to pay for other needs that could arise this year.
“We have a lot of unknowns facing our community, and not knowing what the economy will look like the rest of the year, I really prefer to keep the contingency fund intact as much as possible,” he said. “We could ideally help housing assistance or small businesses.”
The riparian corridor, located between Pike Road and Sunset Street, has long been used by cyclists who developed an impromptu skills course. They also have heavily damaged the area through their activities, David Bell, Longmont’s director of parks and natural resources, told council.
The area “shouldn’t have gotten to this level of impact,” he said.
Councilmember Polly Christensen said the kids who ride their bikes in the corridor are just looking for a patch of open space to have some fun.
“I don’t blame them for what they did, it’s fun on a bicycle.” she said.
However, they still must respect other people’s property, Christensen said.
“Just because something appears to be open, it still is somebody’s property and somebody has to pay for the liability insurance,” she said.
Christensen added she admires the kids for gathering 2,000 petition signatures to keep the bike course open.
“Maybe they can get 2,000 people to come and restore the corridor, it would be a positive thing for the community,” she said.