In fact, if the project passes an important milestone Thursday, Johnson City Mayor Jenny Brock said it could be a matter of weeks or days before bikers can hop on the trails.
“Obviously there’s a lot of anticipation,” she said. “People have been wanting it to be open for a while.”
The Johnson City Commission will vote during its Thursday meeting on issuing reimbursements for invoices totaling $540,241 from the owners of the property, R&G Partners.
The reimbursements are part of a conveyance agreement signed by the city and R&G Partners in November 2018, which commits the city to reimburse the company for the cost of the park’s design and construction in exchange for the title of the property. The land will be donated free of charge to the city.
The item appears on the commission’s consent agenda. The meeting is at 6 p.m. Thursday at 601 E. Main St.
R&G Partners and the city will need to finalize the closing documents required by the agreement after the vote. Once the park is turned over to the city, Brock said city staff will put signage in the park, clean up the area and eventually put in a more permanent restroom.
She said the company that built the park’s trails, the International Mountain Bicycling Association, sets the standard on the construction of mountain bike trails. She said representatives from the company were impressed with how close the Tannery Knobs site is to downtown Johnson City.
The trail has also drawn the attention of the Southern Off-Road Biking Association, which will hold its annual meeting at Tannery Knobs on May 15-18.
“It kinds of put us regionally as a destination for mountain biking,” Brock said. “I’ve always said that I do believe we could be the mountain biking mecca of the South.”
Brock said there’s been a recent upswell of interest in mountain biking locally. The ranks of a mountain biking team at Science Hill High School, for example, recently increased from five members to about 25, she said.
“Not all kids can play football and baseball and that kind of stuff,” she said, “but this is a great activity that everyone can do if they learn from the beginning.”