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Parks and Rec proposes Cosmo Bike Park to community

Columbia Parks and Recreation is building a bike park in Cosmopolitan Park. The department held a public interest meeting for the project yesterday where they fielded questions and comments from cyclists and other members of the community.

The meeting took place at the Activity & Recreation Center, where the department had easels on display highlighting the amenities they have planned for the 26-acre property.

The Cosmo Bike Park will serve as a trailhead for the Rhett Walters Memorial Mountain Bike Trail, also known as Rhett’s Run. Its planned features include a mountain bike skills course, an asphalt pump track and a cyclocross event space.

Lelande Rehard is the president of the Columbia Missouri Trail Association, or COMOTA, and says the group has been working with Parks and Rec to plan a trailhead for Rhett’s Run since the 2021 parks sales tax.

“Then we got excited about the idea of adding on these additional amenities and were able to help fundraise in the community,” Rehard said. “And we're very fortunate to find the resources to make this a possibility sooner than we thought.”

The project has a budget of $750,000. A third of the funds come from a Veterans United Foundation grant acquired by COMOTA. $200,000 is funded by the parks sales tax, and the remainder is coming from the Frank W. Morris Memorial Trust. Morris owned Walt's Bike Shop until his death in 2020.

“His only stipulation in terms of the trust was that the money needed to be used for cycling in the Columbia community,” Parks and Rec Director Gabe Huffington said. “So there was a tremendous gift there from Mr. Morris, when he passed away. And that's really helped us propel this project and two other future projects because of the donation that's come from the community.”

According to Park Planning & Development Superintendent Mike Snyder, the plan is still in the early phases of development. The department will outsource the bike park’s design to a bike-specific design firm.

“Then we'll have more public input and City Council and Park Commission input,” he said. “So that'll be ongoing throughout the winter months and into the spring. And then hopefully next summer we can get started moving some dirt and doing the grading to get started on building the project.”

In the meantime, the Parks and Recreation Department will continue receiving input through the city’s BeHeard site.

Harshawn Ratanpal is a senior at the University of Missouri studying journalism and economics. He is the current Print-Audio Convergence Editor, or PACE, for the Missouri News Network focusing on homelessness coverage.
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