Shortly after operators of The Rock Sports Complex announced the downhill mountain bike trails would open on June 15, the Business Journal reported that the Village of Greendale is preparing a lawsuit over the trails sculpted on the former Crystal Ridge ski area.
Thousands of mountain bikers have been anxious to take the initial plunges down the 250 feet of elevation and explore the first park of its kind in the Midwest. While smaller, and with less elevation, the gravity flow and downhill runs at The Rock promise to replicate the big-mountain experience found at Whistler, Steamboat and a dozen major bike parks in North America.
Michael Zimmerman, a health-care entrepreneur from Franklin, invested more than $1 million in the biking complex, and retrofitted the ski lifts to carry riders and their bikes from the bottom to the top. Zimmerman leased the property from Milwaukee County in September, and included the biking trails in a major renovation that includes a dozen baseball fields.
Sean Ryan, from the Business Journal, details how a portion of the trails cross into Greendale and the permitting issues that may put the mountain biking on hold.
Operators of the Rock reached out for support on its Facebook page: “The crux of the debate is permits on the Bike Park. The Rock is happy to file a permit (or any other paper work) if our land owner (Milwaukee County Parks) feels it’s required. Its a gray area. A lawsuit is overboard in our opinion and would ruin all plans for opening the bike park this year. Given the positive impact of this development to the communities The Rock serves (Greendale especially) we would have expected a conversation on the topic first, not a surprise lawsuit.”
Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele released a similarly positive statement: “Our attorney’s are working with the Parks Department and representatives from Franklin, Greendale and The Rock Complex to solve this issue. We hope we can all reach an agreement that will avoid going to court and will allow for this exciting project to move forward.”