A dazzling early autumn afternoon provided the perfect backdrop for Saturday’s grand opening of Coleman Memorial Park’s latest attraction, a bicycle playground built this summer by the Susquehanna Area Mountain Bike Association.
After Lebanon Mayor Sherry Capello, flanked by SAMBA members, local organization representatives, and elected officials, cut a black ribbon, dozens of young riders took to the serpentine track’s jumps and banked turns.
The park suffered a setback last year when city council voted to demolish the deteriorating 80 year old municipal pool, but park trustee Bret Fisher was looking to the future on Saturday.
“The park has changed as times have changed,” he told the assembled crowd. “The pool is no longer, but we’re not going to look back, we’re going to look forward.”
Demolition of the mothballed pool, which is next to the new bike track, has not started.
Fisher added that SAMBA and the park trustees are exploring a possible mountain bike trail around the park’s perimeter.
SAMBA’s president, Nick Loftus, and Community Health Council of Lebanon County Executive Director Nicole Maurer Gray stressed the benefits of getting young people outside and “away from screens.”
Maurer Gray said that only 17% of county adults “get the required amount of exercise” and that “bikes can be a lifelong hobby.”
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