By Steve Mitchell, PBBA Mountain Bike Director
Many of you have already heard that the City of Midland granted the PBBA a 135-acre lease in southeast Midland. It took 6 months and a lot of work to get to this point, but we were rewarded with a really great location to build a multi-use trail system in Midland.
How we got to this point
We were fortunate to have two Midland City Councilman–Jack Ladd and Lori Blong–totally supporting this project. It started out as just a walk-through last summer to determine if the project had a real chance of being approved and if the property was worthy of building a trail system. Dan and Shauna Saxton, Oscar Salazar, and I left the area excited about its potential. The Property has tall elm trees, deep grass, big mesquite trees, a lake, and some decent natural topography.
Lease negotiations took a while, but we had a template from the Odessa Mountain Bike Park. Kye King introduced us to Mike Kelly, a local attorney and cyclist who had worked up the Odessa Mountain Bike Park lease. He graciously offered his time free of charge to help us with the Midland lease. After some negotiating and quite a few edits, we had the lease in a form that was acceptable to the PBBA and the City of Midland attorney, Nicholas Toulet Crump.
All that remained was to get the property surveyed, and then officially present the project plan to the City Council and the Mayor. I was able to show them all the great trails and infrastructure the PBBA had created at the Odessa Mountain Bike Park. They also were shown the West Texas Trail Alliance (WTTA) trail project at Big Spring State Park, and that the PBBA has over 1350 members.
The Midland City Council and Mayor voted unanimously to grant the lease to the PBBA. I want to acknowledge their forward thinking for recognizing the community’s need for a local outdoor venue and their willingness to trust the PBBA to take on this venture.
Trail building phase
Right after the lease was awarded, there was a lot of excitement and relief. The media was notified, and they did several stories on the project. Expectations are high and this feels a bit more serious than when we took on the Odessa Mountain Bike Park project. Regardless, it is time to get to work on the trail building phase. The pressure is on to make this a great trail system.
Our trail builder is arriving at the end of February. Prior to his arrival, we are going to have a property clean-up day. This area is much like the Odessa Mountain Bike park when we first acquired the property. It contains lots of trash, old tires and appliances, and unsightly debris.
We are tentatively scheduling a Midland Trails Project Clean Up Day on Saturday, February 20, 2021 at 9 am. We will send out a notice to verify the exact date and time along with some instructions.
Not just for cyclists
We have agreed to let the Disc Golf community build a disc golf course on the property. We will work closely with their group to make sure the disc golf course is safe and does not interfere with the trail system.
This property contains a unique eco-system which attracts distinctive birds, rare butterflies, and uncommon dragonflies. It has been a favorite spot of the local Bird watching community for over 50 years. We met about 15 of their members on the lease this Saturday. We assured them that we would do our best to work around fragile habitat. Overall, we think the new trails will be a benefit to the bird watchers too.
The West Texas Trail Alliance (WTTA) jump started our project by contributing over $25,000 and they will possibly be able to contribute an additional $15,000. We also have been receiving individual donations through the WTTA and so far, have accumulated about $2000. Several local foundations have shown interest and we have filled out and submitted their applications. We will be soliciting local businesses and we are actively looking for sponsors. Please contact us if you can help with fundraising. Our goal is to raise $150,000. That amount will allow us to build a nice pavilion, numerous man-made features, buy maintenance equipment and a storage container, hire professional trail builders, and rent heavy equipment.
How to donate
Please consider donating to this project. You can make a tax-deductible contribution through the West Texas Trail Alliance website at www.fundtxtrails.org.
If you would prefer to write a check, you may mail it to the West Texas Trail Alliance at 1910 N Big Spring St, #300, Midland TX, 79705