BEND, OR -- Deschutes County Commissioners appear ready to approve a conditional use permit that would allow Bend Parks and Recreation to expand Big Sky Park, east of town. Parks and Rec Development Manager Brian Hudspeth says it’s been a lengthy process to mitigate concerns from neighbors. "We’ve been working with county staff now, since May or June, and have gone through several hearings. And, for every hearing, we’ve adjusted things and tailored things, trying to work with the neighbors. We had several independent neighborhood meetings where we invited the neighbors out to talk to them about what was going on, as early as last year." Commissioners are expected to approve permits Wednesday, with restrictions on things like lighting, noise and parking.
Hudspeth says the more than $4 million expansion project includes more walking trails and a new bike park, unlike anything else in the region, "It’s mostly mountain bike-type stuff but it’ll also have pump tracks for kids; for toddlers. It will allow for bike-style recreation from very, very little children all the way up to adults." He tells KBND News it’ll also include a unique slope-style course, "It has an elevated track and you can come down; it has jumps and gaps and big corner-banks that people ride down." He admits that's likely to bring more visitors to an already busy park, "It’s going to be an attraction out there, so that’s why one of the biggest components to this is to redo a lot of the parking area to increase parking by several hundred stalls within the park – both to make up for some parking issues that are going on out there today during tournaments, and to handle the additional parking for this component." The new design also includes a second entrance on Hamby Road. Currently, the only entrance to Big Sky Park is on Neff Road.
Construction is expected to get underway by next fall and will likely take six to eight months.