City of Lebanon Breaks Ground on Stone Eater Bike Park $4.4M Land Reuse Development: Utilizing READI Grant Funds, Sponsorship & Local Dollars

“More Kids on Bikes” is the tagline and aspiration for the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA). That phrase is also one step closer to becoming a reality for young people who live in Lebanon and surrounding areas, as ground was officially broken on the trail-building phase at Stone Eater Bike Park. The 110-acre former landfill is being transformed into a world class bike park with the help of Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IDEC) sponsored READI Grant funds, as well as American Rescue Plan, private sponsorship, and money from the city’s sanitation fund.

“Today’s groundbreaking epitomizes perseverance,” said Mayor Matt Gentry. “The journey to make Stone Eater Bike Park a reality has taken on many ups and downs, including a legal battle, and a global pandemic. Adding this amenity provides another great outdoor option for residents and visitors of all ages.”

While it will serve as a competition and recreational mountain bike venue, Stone Eater Bike Park is expected to also be utilized for hiking and trail running. Marion University’s Mountain Bike team has stated that it plans to utilize Stone Eater Bike Park. Lebanon’s cross-country program has plans to utilize the facility as does the Lebanon Mountain Bike Team. The Lebanon MTB team is a club team, comprised of area students between 6th and 12th grades, affiliated with the National Interscholastic Cycling Association.

“Today’s groundbreaking is possible because of the hard work and ongoing commitment of the City of Lebanon to renew, restore, and create a new venue for families to connect in outdoor recreation,” said NICA Indiana League Director John Leitzel. “The National Interscholastic Cycling Association celebrates our partnership with the City of Lebanon as we work together to see more kids on bikes, and building strong minds, bodies, character and community together.”

The design for the park was performed by Hilride Progression Development Group. Trail construction will be performed by PumpTrax USA. Both PumpTrax and Hildride are each recognized for their work to enhance the sport of mountain biking throughout the world.

“It is a major win for the city, the area, the sport of mountain biking, and outdoor recreation to partner with NICA, Hilride, and PumpTrax USA,” said City of Lebanon Engineer Kevin Krulik. “We have been encouraged by the partnership and leadership from the Nat and the Hilride team. Hilride has been influential in growing the sport of mountain biking in places like San Jose, California, South Lake Tahoe, and at Griffin Bike Park in Terre Haute. As for PumpTrax USA, their work has been showcased in the Olympics and various World Cup events!”

“It has been exciting working in collaboration with the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA), the Indiana Mountain Bike League and the local Lebanon Mountain Bike Team to design the project as a national model for integrated riding, racing and special event venues for hosting large-scale, professional level racing and events,” said Hilride Principal & Lead Park Designer Nat Lopes. “And it has been exciting working with the design and engineering team, Kevin Krulik and the dedicated staff at the City of Lebanon to develop the plans for the Indiana Department of Environmental Management to transform the former landfill site into an incredible recreational resource for the region.”

Because the 110 acres was previously a landfill, Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) requirements had to be met, before the land could become a bike park. First, large amounts of dirt were hauled in, and distributed throughout the former landfill space to cap the area where the trash is securely buried. Additionally, monitoring wells were installed in various locations on the property, so that underground water levels could be monitored and tested.

“People don’t always see an old landfill and think of possibility, but that is exactly what this project provides,” said IDEM Commissioner Brian Rockensuess. “Thanks to great state, local, and private cooperation, Hoosiers in Boone County will enjoy a world-class bike park and trail system that will be a model in the Midwest.”

PumpTrax USA expects the trail-building phase to last between 6-8 months to complete. A park ribbon-cutting is tentatively slated for late October. Fundraising is currently underway for Phase II of Stone Eater Bike Park which will include a skills area, pump track, and jump park.

“As we break ground on Stone Eater Bike Park, we celebrate a new era of outdoor recreation and community engagement in Boone County. This park embodies our commitment to active lifestyles and sustainable development, paving the way for a healthier, more connected future.” – Molly Whitehead, CEO of Boone EDC

The name “Stone Eater” is used with permission from the Peoria Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma. Chief Stone Eater was a Chief of the Wea People and a War Chief under the Tecumseh Confederacy. Chief Stone Eater was an important historical figure and leader with ties to the larger Miami Nation, and this region of the state. Chief Stone Eater played important roles in the War of 1812, the Battle of Tippecanoe, the Siege of Fort Harrison, and beyond, including his role in several key armistice and treaty agreements.

The Peoria Nation is the federally recognized representative of the original Wea people. The development team will work with the Peoria Nation to ensure the dedication is respectful of the heritage and legacy of Chief Stone Eater and the native people of this area. This will include the development of informational and interpretive park exhibits celebrating Chief Stone Eater and the Native American Heritage of this area.

Learn More About Stone Eater Bike Park


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