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Elk Village continues fundraising for bike park

Rylen Wadsworth catches some serious air in phase one of the new bike park that was built by Hoots Inc. for the Jasper Park Cycling Association. | J.Stockfish photo

Jason Stockfish |

It takes a village to build a bike park.

As riders began ripping through phase one of the new bike park in Jasper, Elk Village Restaurant was already fundraising for the final phase.

While the new park was built by Hoots Inc., and is the result of the tireless efforts of the Jasper Park Cycling Association (JPCA), funding for the long-awaited attraction was made possible because of donors in the community and committed individuals and businesses like owner and chef Enrique Alonso and manager Pat Mroczek of Elk Village Restaurant.

On Sept. 17, from 12 to 9 p.m., the local eatery hosted its second fundraiser of the year in support of the JPCA’s project, serving food and drink to the more than 200 patrons who showed up in support.

Elk Village Restaurant also hosted a fundraiser for the bike park back in June.

For the recent fundraiser, local musician Greg Deagle donated his time and talents performing for diners as they took in the evening.

While there were a few walk-ins, and a tour group of 30 interspersed, the vast majority of those that attended the fundraiser were residents of Jasper.

“It was amazing to see how many people came out (in support),” Alonso said.

The event was set to begin at noon but patrons didn’t really start showing up until a few hours later, leaving Alonso, Mroczek and the rest of the staff trying to prepare for the onslaught of support coming their way later in the day.

“It was a long night, a very long night,” Alonso said.

“A lot of the people showed up late because they stopped at the bike park on their way out, (but) after 3 o’clock, this place was in full party mode.” 

With a tired laugh, Mroczek added that it would’ve been nice if some people showed up earlier in the day.

“But it was a good way to soft-end the summer with less than two weeks to go (before closing until next spring),” he added.

From the left: Anna Gifford, Lucy Caputa, Hailey Cardiff, Abby Caputa and Aven Cardiff show their support for the bike park fundraiser at Elk Village Restaurant on Sept. 17.

Between cash donations, a raffle and the proceeds from a silent auction for a carving donated by local carpenter Rob Klettl, around $2,000 was raised toward building the next phase of the park, which could be completed in the spring of 2023 with enough support.

“This time around we had something physical, something tangible (to show), and folks knew it was actually being built,” Mroczek said.

“People were really excited to see that their money was going somewhere.” 

Alonso said he was happy to see some new faces among a sea of familiar ones and that the average age of those in attendance was notably skewed by the number of children running rampant.

“I just love the fact that there were kids here,” he said.

“It pumped me up because (the bike park) is definitely something that kids need in this town.”

Alonso noted how community-building initiatives like the bike park bring out the best in people.

“We have a great community of people.”

“We were just enabling, providing a spot for people. They were spending their money and…people were very generous,” Mroczek added.

All in all, the fundraiser was a big success, and phase one of the park is now built and has been packed since opening day.

When Elk Village Restaurant opens again in the spring, supporters can expect another fundraiser to help raise money for the next phase of building, perhaps on Cinco de Mayo.

“Yesterday was definitely a long, tough day for us (but) it was worth it,” Alonso said.

“We’ll definitely do it again.”

Enrique Alonso, left, and Pat Mroczek, right, served drinks and food for supporters of the JPCA’s new bike park while Greg Deagle entertained.

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