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Cottage Grove bike park wins nationwide grant

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A bike park in Cottage Grove, Minn., has won an online contest and a $33,000 grant to help pay for its construction. The contest was sponsored by the International Mountain Bicycling Association and Bell Helmets.

The Minnesota park was competing against three other bike park and trail projects in the central region of the country for the grant money, and it received the most online votes by the midnight Sunday night deadline. The other projects are in Illinois, Indiana and Colorado.

The bike project is being built on four acres in a city park on Cottage Grove's west side. When it’s finished, the park will have six separate biking areas that will cater to people with different skill levels.

Volunteers and bike enthusiasts came up with the idea for the park last year, and when the city approved they began building it several months ago. It'll be the only park of its kind in the Upper Midwest, according to organizers.

It's being built in phases, and the first phase is scheduled to open on June 26.

It includes a BMX track with jumps and banked corners for up to eight racers. It’ll also have what’s called a “pump track,” which is described as an area of gentle hills that allows riders to propel themselves by pushing and swaying their bodies — the way they would pump a swing to make it go back and forth — rather than pedaling.

The second phase will include a tot track for younger riders and a bike-jumping area. That’s expected to be finished later this summer.

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