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On May 2nd, the City of Lebanon, along with Hilride Progression Group, PumpTrax USA, the National Interscholastic Cycling Association, and the Lebanon Parks Department broke ground on the trail building phase of Stone Eater Bike Park.

“We are really here to kick off our trail building construction,” began City Engineer Kevin Krulik. “So it might be a little different than a typical groundbreaking. Obviously we have already broken ground here, but we are getting ready to start our trail building.”

“Very early in my first year as Mayor in 2016, I got a ‘nice’ letter from IDEM(Indiana Department of Environmental Management), politely reminding me of some challenges we have out here,” said Lebanon Mayor Matt Gentry. “And so it has kind of been churning in my mind. We knew we had this old landfill and what was the city going to do. It was city owned and city operated and it was down in the 80s, not really how it should have been closed down by today’s standards, so we knew there was a challenge at hand.”

“It was starting to become ponded with water, there were animals burrowing into it, trashing was coming to the surface that others were having to pick up, as recently as this year. It was filled with weeds and basically and eye-sore,” said IDEM Remediation Services Branch Chief Kevin Davis. “Nobody wanted it. There wasn’t sufficient maintenance and that can cause environmental hazards to occur, and you guys were aware of it and decided to make a difference here and make that change.”

“This course has been carefully designed. With the proper materials that the team has worked tirelessly to source enough material make this relatively weather proof,” said National Interscholastic Cycling Association League Director John Leitzel. “So that this will be a go-to destination for families down in Indy, to up north where I live to be able to come this time of year, to ride and to recreate.”

“I truly think the potential impact here ultimately, because of the accessibility and because of the all-weather factor, I think it will be able to get to the 50,000 visitors a year stage, just as the Griffin Bike Park has done,” said Nat Lopes of Hilride Progression Development Group. “It is an environmentally safe and responsible redevelopment that you guys have figured out, added Kevin Davis. “It’s not easy to do. It takes visionaries to do that.”

“Know that today is the beginning of a journey,” added Mayor Gentry. “Yes, we are building the backbone, we are building all the trails, but this isn’t the end for Stone Eater. This isn’t being built to its final completion, so tell your friends about it, if we can show this is being well-received by the community, we can continue to do more and more things out here. We can add the skills park as well as other features, so this is the beginning. This isn’t the end, so we want to welcome you and thank you all for being willing to join us on this journey.”

“In October, we are planning to hold the state championships for the Indiana Interscholastic Cycling League here at Stone Eater Bike Park,” added John Leitzel. “That’s going to be hundreds of people who come into the City of Lebanon, who need to fill their vehicles up with gas before they go home and get a meal to eat, and there are going to be heads on pillows. There are going to be families here, and if you want to see that in action – come join us. The event will be on the last weekend in October, and we’d love for you to see this place full of young athletes who are cheering for everyone else, even if they’re not on the same team. These riders congratulate their competitors and they manage to work together, even though they are riding hard and having a great time.”

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