City Council selects new sled hill location near Riverview Trail and Industrial Drive

FLUSHING — After further research and planning, Flushing City Council has moved on from Eastview Park as a potential sled hill site in favor of a new location near the Riverview Trail.

On June 14, the city council selected a location near the Riverview Trail and the Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) along Industrial Drive as the most suitable spot for a sled hill. Council members voted 6-1 to approve the Riverview Trail/Industrial Drive site, with Councilman Dane Miller representing the lone dissenting vote.

Although the city originally approved construction for a new sled hill at Eastview Park, city administration directed Rowe Professional Services Company to conduct surveys of other possible locations at Industrial Drive and Riverview Park near downtown Flushing.

Flushing City Manager Clarence Goodlein said that the Riverview Trail/Industrial Drive location will provide more space and a much taller slope for sledders and snowboarders to utilize. As proposed, the Industrial Drive hill would stand about 50 feet high at its tallest point and 190 feet in diameter, whereas the Eastview Park hill would have been only 18 to 25 feet tall and around 140 feet in diameter at maximum.

Riverview Park was eliminated from consideration as a sled hill site due to its position as a flood plain.

Mayor Pro Tem Edward Sullivan said that the sled hill at Industrial Drive could be a huge asset for the city and draw people to Flushing in the winter.

“It would be really cool if we could tie the sled hill in with the Candlewalk,” he said. “We could have warming stations and hot chocolate near the hill and the Chamber of Commerce could light the trail. Plus, having a 50-foot slope will draw people from all over—young people, amateur snowboarders and skiers.”

Mayor Joseph Karlichek said that while Eastview Park would have provided sledders from nearby neighborhoods with convenient access, some residents living near the park have expressed concerns about the proposed hill’s proximity to residences.

“Having a slope like this (at Industrial Drive) will certainly bring people into the city as a destination point in the downtown area, where they can park at Bueche’s and walk the boardwalk to get to the hill.” Karlichek said. “With the Industrial Drive site, we can avoid complaints about lighting (on the hill) at night and noise, since it’s away from houses.”

In the future, the city is also considering the installation of a concrete or asphalt walkway from the Riverview Trail pavilion to Industrial Drive and the sled hill. Currently, sledders would be able to access the hill from a mowed pathway that runs north from the pavilion to the proposed sledding hill’s base.

Miller, who voted against the Industrial Drive location, said he was concerned that the site might be too remote for some families to use and pose a burden for the Department of Public Works (DPW).

“If we create a sled hill park along Industrial Drive off of the Riverview Trail, that’s a major new thing for the DPW to take care of,” he said. “Are we going to ask the DPW to clear the trail of ice and snow when they don’t have the equipment, manpower or the means to clear the trail now?”

Sullivan said that the sled hill site won’t be a problem for crews to maintain, based on his talks with DPW Director Tony Nowiski

“Tony doesn’t seem to think that there will be any issues,” Sullivan said. “They mow out there anyway in the summer, and foot traffic would beat the snow down on the trail.”

Karlichek said that the construction cost at Industrial Drive will be roughly $15,000— considerably less than the $38,000 to $44,000 cost estimated to build a sled hill at Eastview Park. The city will be using dirt from the nearby WWTP project and soil from a DPW spoil pile for the project.