Rotary Club raising money for bicycle playground in Johnson City

A young rider tests his skills at the pump track located at Tannery Knobs Bike Park. The Johnson City Rotary Club is currently raising money for the construction of a bicycle playground designed to help beginners hone their skills. Photo by Dave Ongie

By Heather Richardson

Johnson City families will soon have access to a new bicycle playground aimed at children wanting to learn the foundational skills of cycling.

The 1.5 acre playground, which will be situated near the corner of Legion Street and State of Franklin, will serve as an area where beginner or novice riders can learn and practice the skills necessary for traversing some of the city’s more advanced trails. The area will offer many of the typical elements of most bike playgrounds including berms, skinnies, rollers, and beginner jumplines.

According to Abraham McIntyre, one of the organizers for the playground project, the design is intended to build riders’ confidence by offering a low-risk but high-reward experience.

“It just offers a safe place for people to practice those skills,” McIntyre said, adding that there are still many places in the city without sidewalks or places for kids to safely ride their bikes. “The hope is,” McIntyre said, “they will take this experience, be more confident and go to other locations.”

Trek employee Logan Mooney, who was also integral in moving the project forward, said the idea of progression-based skills learning is very important when it comes to both mountain biking and general cycling and is the main focus for the new playground.

“This playground is a perfect approach,” Mooney said. “We can give safe and progression-based resources there.”

According to Mooney, the obstacles in the park will range in height from just a couple inches to a couple feet from the ground. While anyone on any kind of bike can use the playground, organizers said the design focuses on beginner or novice riders up to about 12 years old.

The area will also be available to various cycling clubs and organizations in the city for training and exhibition space. Additionally, organizers plan to utilize the spot for cycling classes, school field trips and helmet fitting events.

While the land for the playground was provided by the city, funding is still needed for construction. The Johnson City Rotary Club has taken on fundraising for the park and hopes to have the approximately $300,000 needed by this summer. The group has created various corporate sponsorship opportunities including an archway, park map, safety signs and instructional signs.

A donor wall is also planned for individual donors. Companies or individuals wishing to make a donation to the bicycle playground can contact Rotary Club Fundraising Chair Brackton Smith at


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