By Scott Hammers

The Bulletin

Users and neighbors of Big Sky Park are encouraged to meet with Bend Park & Recreation District officials Monday at an open house to discuss potential changes to the park.

In February, the district board settled on a master plan outlining the new amenities it hopes to add in the coming years at Big Sky.

The master plan proposes an expansion of the BMX park to include a pump track and a skills course, and a 1.5-mile loop trail for cyclocross training and racing. Also proposed is an area where RC car owners can drive their vehicles, and a “naturehood,” a designated area where kids can play with rocks, sticks and other items found in the natural environment.

District landscape architect Perry Brooks said the upcoming meeting, set for 5:30 p.m. Monday at the south picnic shelter at Big Sky, is an opportunity for residents to weigh in on two significant changes that could be in the works at the park.

High Desert BMX, the BMX club that operates from the Big Sky track, has requested they be allowed to install a public address system for events. The district is also looking at the possibility of adding lights to three soccer fields at the park.

The park district’s only lighted fields are at Skyliner Sports Complex — all out of commission this summer due to a grass reseeding project — and it has been looking at adding more lighting to make fields usable later into the evening.

Brooks said although the district has not yet committed to allowing a public address system or lighting the fields, it needs to account for the possibility when filing a development plan with Deschutes County.

The sound system or lights could be years down the road, he said, or might not ever be added at all.

If the district does add lights at Big Sky, they’re likely to be different than those found at the Skyliner Sports Complex. Brooks said LED lighting is replacing halide bulbs as the choice for sports field lighting, and the newer lights are far better at directing light to the field and minimizing light pollution.

The Big Sky master plan formally eliminated a number of proposed amenities that were included in a 2003 master plan but never built. Out are plans for a roller hockey rink, basketball and tennis courts, and an additional softball field.

Brooks said no construction is expected at Big Sky Park before late next summer at the earliest. If the district elects to proceed next summer, it will likely start with an expansion and improvement of the parking lot and internal driveways, he said.

— Reporter: 541-383-0387,