Winning What’s Next Midlands idea comes to life in partnership with Cola Town Bike Collective
June 13, 2018 (COLUMBIA, S.C.): Thanks to What’s Next Midlands (WNM) and the Cola Town Bike Collective (CTBC), Midlands cyclists need no longer worry about being stranded by a flat tire or minor mechanical mishap. Earlier this year, bicycle repair stands started popping up on both sides of the river.
The bicycle repair stand project was selected by WNM investors last fall. EngenuitySC, home of the What’s Next Midlands project, combined social investor donations with support from local governments, nonprofit organizations and businesses to fund ten repair stands complete with tire pumps and small repair tools.
“This project exemplifies the great way What’s Next Midlands has brought together businesses, nonprofits, the public sector, and individuals to make things happen,” says Laura Ros, WNM Project Manager at EngenuitySC.
WNM worked with local nonprofit Cola Town Bike Collective to identify and secure locations around the Midlands that are commonly traveled by recreational cyclists. Locations include areas along the West Columbia Riverwalk, two Richland Library branches, the Main Street District and the Cottontown neighborhood.
The project is supported by many local organizations and businesses, including the City of West Columbia, Richland Library, City Center Partnership, House of Raeford, Cycle Center, Cason Development, Circa Barbershop, Indah Coffee and The War Mouth.
“City Center Partnership is proud to support and help fund the bike repair station for the Main Street District,” says Matt Kennell, President and CEO of City Center Partnership. “This is one of many great efforts to ensure that Columbia becomes one of the top bike friendly cities in the country.”
West Columbia Mayor Pro-Tem, Tem Miles, agrees, saying, “We are thrilled to offer bicycle repair stands in West Columbia, as we continue to increase the bike-friendliness of our city. The stands will help connect our region by improving accessibility for cyclists from all areas and abilities, with easy-to-use tools and convenient locations.”
Developer Frank Cason sees the repair stands as a sign of neighborhood revitalization.
“As the Cottontown and North Main areas continue to expand and grow, it is exciting to see new energy and forms of transportation in the area,” says Cason. “The area and neighborhood have become highly attractive for people to walk and bike. The bike repair stand initiative is an excellent sample of the citizens not waiting on public funding but rather taking initiative to serve a market.”
Additionally, a bike stand sponsored by Cycle Center will be located in Transitions Homeless Shelter, which provides resources to homeless men and women as they transition to permanent housing and the workforce.
“The addition of this bike repair station will allow our residents to expand their horizons in a number of ways, especially with employment opportunities that are beyond walking distance or off Columbia’s bus routes,” says Cathy Cobbs, Community Outreach and Events Coordinator. “We are grateful for this valuable addition to Transitions.”
Cola Town Bike Collective (CTBC) has partnered with Transitions for years, providing residents with free bicycles to help them get to and from work.
“For those who have no other form of transportation, these stands provide vital tools to keep them on the road and off their feet,” says Scott Nuelken, CTBC President. “If you do not have a car, a flat [bicycle] tire could mean not getting to your job on time.”
CTBC will be involved in the project on an ongoing basis, providing maintenance and tool replacement. Additionally, the organization plans to create an app which will map out cycling routes across the region for various comfort levels, and pin the exact locations of the repair stands.
“The bike repair stations are part of a bigger picture: connecting the Midlands,” says David King of CTBC. “Our hope is to connect the existing infrastructure – bike lanes, pedestrian paths, greenways and parks – to make the Midlands more cohesive when it comes to getting around by bike.”
Headquartered in Columbia, S.C., EngenuitySC is a nonprofit focused on long-term competitiveness and prosperity in the Midlands. EngenuitySC specializes in managing collaborations between business, government, education and community leaders. For more information, visit http://www.engenuitysc.com.