Pump track coming to Little Valley Road

Little Valley field will become a pump track for bikes, but the Diamond Dusters softball league that was vying for the site didn't walked away empty handed.

POULSBO — What initially seemed like a competitive land grab quickly turned into a simple choice for the City Council, which chose a mountain bike pump track as the new purpose for a plot of recreational land on Little Valley Road.

“What it finally boiled down to for me was that we need more ball fields, but we already have ballfields,” Councilman Ed Stern said at the council’s March 18 meeting. “What we don’t have is a bicycle facility.”

He added, “I like expanding into the new, without taking away from what we have. That is what made me like the Evergreen proposal.”

The Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance won the lease of the city property, on the corner of Little Valley and Berndt Road. The organization will lease the property for $1, and develop and maintain the site for public use.

The council voted unanimously to approve the pump track after a workshop on the issue March 18. The council chambers were packed with supporters for the pump track, as well as those supporting a ball field for the Diamond Dusters softball league.

Four groups vied for use of the field; two had been recommended by the city’s Parks and Recreation Commission, but only one could be chosen. Of the two recommended options for the field — a ballfield for the Diamond Dusters, or a pump track — the council chose the pump track.

While the Diamond Dusters softball organization didn’t get chosen to use the 1.82-acre plot of land, they may, instead, get four acres elsewhere.

“Looking long term, the pump track is appropriate for there,” Councilman Gary Nystul said. “And we need to find a better solution for the Diamond Dusters.”

That solution could be a four-acre field currently used for a city water well at the north end of Poulsbo, near Snider Park. During the bid process for the Little Valley field, the Parks and Recreation Department identified three other city properties that are not being utilized — six acres near College Marketplace, the four acres near a well, and 20 acres of a former landfill.

The council opted to continue dialogue with the Diamond Dusters for them to build a new facility elsewhere.

“There is so much emphasis put on our young men, and I’m all for that, but our girls don’t have those opportunities,” Robin Dorsey of the Diamond Dusters said through tears of joy. “Four acres would allow us to build a facility.”

Dorsey wasn’t expecting the option for a larger facility, and was surprised by the council.

“We practice wherever we can find, like in school gyms,” Dorsey said “We have eight teams.”

“For them to have a facility to call their own …,” Dorsey said with tears in her eyes. “We can raise the money and we can develop it. I hope you do consider us for the potential four acres.”