SIOUX CITY – Mountain biking trails and summer tubing are coming to Cone Park, making the famous winter park a year-round destination.
“Cone Park has become so successful during the winter months, the City Council has made it a priority that the summer be just as attractive as the winter, so that’s where dollars (improvement program capital) have been allocated with a focus on summer activities at Cone Park,” Sioux City Parks and Recreation Director Matt Salvatore said. “From there, we had a lot of momentum with the mountain bike park and a lot of excitement with the summer slide.”
A $2 million bike lane project will include jumps and berms, as well as a pump track. Walkers, hikers and runners can use single-use trails. A plastic type surface for the summer slide will be installed annually at the park on the hill and will be removed at the end of the year to make way for the snow slide.
“The mountain bike park project is being designed right now. It’s going to take between six and nine months to fully complete this design,” Salvatore said in February. “And, then, construction is tentatively scheduled for spring 2023. The summer tubes are being tendered. If all goes according to plan, we will be operational in June.”
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Cone Park offers a main hill and Blue Bunny Hill, a shorter hill designed for people of all ages, for snow tubing during the winter. Visitors can also skate at the park’s ice rink. The park received the “Outstanding Attraction” award from the Iowa Bureau of Tourism and the Iowa Travel Federation in 2019. During the park’s fifth winter season, 19,897 tickets were sold.
“With our condensed winter season at Cone Park, our numbers weren’t as high as years past,” Salvatore said. “I will say that Cone Park was more popular than ever and we did more tours, rentals and events than we ever did outside of our regular weekend hours.”
The Chesterman Foundation donated $1 million for the mountain bike trail project. Chesterman Company is an independently owned and operated Sioux City-based Coca-Cola bottling company celebrating its 150th anniversary this year.
Salvatore said $300,000 still needs to be raised for the project. During the fiscal year 2022 budget process, the city council committed $500,000. Council support has since grown to $700,000.
In early 2021, Salvatore said the Department of Parks and Recreation began working with Jay Chesterman and members of the mountain biking community to develop a trail plan between Cone and Sertoma parks. The Chesterman Foundation funded a study, and the group worked with the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) to develop a master plan for mountain bike trails and other bike-friendly amenities.
“We really love this project. It’s super exciting to have. The idea of a sustainable, professionally built mountain bike trail, it’s going to be a huge health and wellness benefit, an attraction for our community, a quality of life benefit,” Jay Chesterman said at a press conference about the project in early December. “It’s going to be amazing.”