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Peekskill Pumped to Make New Mountain Bike Track

PEEKSKILL, N.Y. – The City of Peekskill is considering creating a new attraction to help bring mountain bikers to Blue Mountain Preserve.

The park is already popular with mountain bikers due to the many trails found within and hosts the annual Fat Tire Festival in the summer that draws cyclists from across the northeast.

At the Peekskill Committee of the Whole Meeting Tuesday, City Planner Jean Friedman said the department wanted to create what is known as a "pump track," which is a dirt course littered with small steep hills that allow bikers to gain momentum quickly and perform tricks. The city is looking to acquire grant funding to build the track.

"It's basically a training area for learning skills and improving skills, so it covers beginners all the way up to experts," Friedman said.

Such tracks are also ideal for children who are just learning to ride, she said.

Such pumps are highly sought after by mountain biking enthusiasts since they are short supply in the area, and the Westchester Mountain Biking Association has suggested to the city that such a track would be very popular. Several members have volunteered to help build the track if it is approved, Friedman said.

The city has been looking to increase visitors to the city, and council members said they hoped that such a track would be good for business.

"We've been told that the cyclists do come into the downtown when they ride and go to the pubs and the restaurants," Friedman said. "But there's really an untapped market of people who don't know about Peekskill. They park in the county lot and they just don't come over here."

Several trails link Blue Mountain to Peekskill's Depew Park, and acting City Manager Brian Havranek said that bike and walking trails would have to be separated and clearly marked for the safety of both bikers and walkers.

Deputy Mayor Drew Claxton said she believed such an attraction would draw bikers from many miles around.

"When we had a presentation on heritage tourism the consultants said tourists are looking for fun, and this is fun," Claxton said.

The city is applying for $10,000 in state grants and anticipates volunteer labor of about $5,000. Friedman said the city would probably have to spend about $5,000, which would add up to a $20,000 total budget for the project.

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