Updated: March 17, 2014 at 6:51 am
On a sunny and breezy Sunday, a group of about 20 volunteers with shovels piled and packed dirt onto mounds made for bicycle riders at Goose Gossage Park in northeast Colorado Springs.
Nearly 10 years after the area was designated as a bike park by the city, the dirt jump park is about to get a makeover, hopefully in time for summer. On this first official work day, the group was led by two young bikers and other more experienced riders.
"We really want to turn this place into a destination comparable to tracks in other cities," said Anthony Amis one of the riders spearheading efforts to revitalize the jump park. "We're doing this for the community and for all the kids."
The 23-year-old Colorado Springs native started BMX racing when he was only 4 years old and grew up frequenting Goose Gossage Park's bike park.
After years of erosion, constant use by riders and little maintenance, the jumps and track show clear signs of aging.
With the help of fellow rider Tim Reyes, 24, Amis recently went before Colorado Springs City Council with a design and makeover proposal for the dirt jump park.
"We really wanted to come up with a plan that not only made a great track for riders of all levels, but also one that would make it easy to maintain long term," Reyes said. "Eventually the plan is to bring a group of volunteers together that will commit to the upkeep of the track through the years. We're still figuring that out."
The City Council gave the pair the go-ahead and donated much needed dirt for the jumps and track, but made clear there would be no financial support for the project.
"Parks and recreation is tapped out," said Mike Ambrose, 41, a veteran rider and local resident who's been active in the design and development of several bike tracks in Colorado Springs.
Besides work on the track's jumps, the dirt jump park really needs nonpotable water for the jumps' upkeep. A drainage ditch to prevent flooding, a fence around the park and trees for shade and to retain the ground's moisture are also musts for the dirt park's renovation project.
"We're trying to raise between $15,000 to $20,000 for everything, including heavy machinery," said competitive rider Tammy Donahugh. "We're applying for grants through REI, Specialized Bikes, and the International Mountain Bike Association. If anyone wants to donate their time, materials or money, we'll be more than happy to take those, too."
A professional rider for the past 21 years, Donahugh, 37, has guided the group's interactions with city officials and utilities representatives. She said their hope is to have the funds raised and the track complete by the beginning of the summer, a goal the group is optimistic they can reach.
For more information or to find out how to help, visit facebook.com/rebuild gossage2014.