Tannery Knobs bike park nearing finish line, could open as soon as next month

Local

The long-awaited opening of the Tannery Knobs bike park in Johnson City is right around the corner. 

The new city park will have hiking trails and a “pump track” for people to ride, just minutes from downtown Johnson City. 

As construction winds down, the final steps for the project will take place at City Hall. Johnson City will take ownership of the park before it opens, making it completely free for the public to enjoy. 

The Johnson City City Commission will be considering an agreement with the current landowner and developer of the property, Mr. Grant Summers, at their meeting Thursday night, November 15. 

A company that builds these tracks all over the world, Velosolutions USA, was contracted to work on the project. The owner of that company says Johnson City is at the forefront of a nation-wide push for mountain bike parks. 

“There have only been a handful of cities that have taken this kind of initiative to be on the forefront of what is a booming idea to be able to have a full-fledged bike park close to a major city. That makes it accessible to everybody. That’s something we haven’t seen a lot of yet,” says Alon Karpman, owner of Velosolutions USA. 

The location is a big part of what makes this bike park so unique. 

“This is something fairly new, a pump track is a great way to learn how to bike. But not just bike, you can roller blade you can skateboard, you can use a scooter, or long-board so it’s a great community asset that we now have in Johnson City,” says Abraham McIntyre, chair of the Tannery Knobs task force. 

The Tannery Knobs task force hopes the park will be completed by the end of December or early January. 

One of the biggest draws of the park is the scenic location. 

 “Anybody who comes on site right away they’re blown away by that view. This is something extremely unique out of all the builds we’ve had this year, nothing has a view like this,” says Karpman. 

More than four miles of hiking and biking trails will accompany the pump track. 

McIntyre says they discovered city plans for a park like this dating back to 1910. 

“We’re building something that was envisioned over 100 years ago. It really feels like a connection especially with our sesquicentennial coming up, our 150th, to connect the past with the present,” says McIntyre. 

The project was primarily funded by grant money from the Tennessee Department of Health and “Up and at Em” through the Turkey Trot. The land was donated specifically for this project. 

The Tannery Knobs task force says the progress so far would not have been possible without these grants, donations from the community and help from volunteers to move construction along. 

City Manager Pete Peterson says the city’s investment in the Tannery Knobs property will not exceed $735,000. 

Though Tannery Knobs hopes to open as soon as the end of December, City Commissioners still must meet to make sure terms and conditions are met before the real estate transaction can be closed. 

The City has 45 days from the approval of this agreement to complete all inspections, training of staff, acquisition of insurance on the facility and various other details of a real estate transfer. The park will open after the real estate transfer has closed.

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