Bike Share Program pushes on with grant funding
In October 2016, the Springfield Community Wellness Team became aware of several cities in the state of Minnesota that operated a bike share program. These particular communities solicited used bicycles that were in good condition and painted them a unique color to identify them within their respective communities. The Springfield Community Wellness Team felt that this bike share program, which is entirely free to the user of the bicycle, could be replicated in Springfield and began a process to seek the necessary approvals and grant funding.
In January 2017, representatives from the Springfield Community Wellness Team made a presentation before the Springfield City Council to solicit their support of the program which would require the bike share program to operate under the auspices of the City of Springfield. Communities in Willmar, Austin and Windom have had their respective bike share programs in place for a few years and were operated by their respective Park and Recreation Departments. These communities solicited bicycles that were not actively used any longer and subjected them to a maintenance review and periodic checks by individuals trained to ensure the bicycles were in proper operating condition. The Springfield City Council was supportive on the condition that grant funding could be obtained to cover any costs of operation of the bike share program.
A grant proposal was developed to be provided to the Pieschel Family Fund of the Minnesota Foundation. The majority of this grant was to provide the mechanical oversight of the donated bicycle fleet by Andy’s Bike Shop in Springfield. Funds were also tagged to be used to provide a unique look to the bikes and as a result “zebra-stripe” tape that will be applied to the bikes to aid in identification of the individual bicycles to deter theft and promote the program and aid in maintenance of the fleet of approximately a dozen bicycles. The Springfield bike share program will be called “Bikes with Stripes.” The Pieschel grant was also used to provide for the cement work necessary for a bike rack to be placed along Central Street near the intersection of O’Connell Avenue. This bike rack, which was obtained via Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP) funds with the assistance of Brown County Public Health, will hold approximately 10 of the donated bikes. Salonek’s Concrete and Construction graciously offered the use of the land for the bike rack on Central Street.
The bike share program will be offered from June through August and the bicycles will be stored by the City of Springfield after the current season is over for use in future years. Individuals with single speed bikes that they would want to donate to this program are asked to contact Donna Woidylla at City Hall at 723-3500 to have their bikes considered for acceptance into this bike share program. Ride, Respect and Return will be the guiding philosophy of the bike share program and the Springfield Community Wellness Team looks forward to providing an outlet for exercise, fun and to promote commerce within our community.