New bicycle racks should start to appear around Crook County towns this summer.
The racks are the result of a Ford Family Foundation leadership class, said Sandra Henning, Paulina District ranger for the Ochoco National Forest and a participant in the class. The foundation is a nonprofit, based in Roseburg, focused on improving communities in rural Oregon. The class is made up of community members, from high school students to hospital workers to retirees.
Along with providing a place to lock up bicycles, the racks should help with the beautification of Prineville and Powell Butte, and possibly Post and Paulina, Henning said. Two designs are planned for the artistic racks.
“One is a wagon wheel and one is a hitchin’ post — kind of a Western theme,” Henning said Tuesday.
As with plans to add more mountain bike trail miles, a goal of the bike racks is to help draw cyclists to Crook County.
“Bike tourism is huge,” said Shawn Benson, a Prineville insurance agent and a member of the class.
Each rack probably will cost about $1,000, and the class is fundraising to pay for the project, Henning said, including taking donations at grocery stores around Prineville. So far the class has raised about $5,000.
If the class can reach the $5,000 fundraising goal, it may earn a $5,000 matching grant from the Ford Family Foundation, said Chad Carpenter, who heads up a tutoring nonprofit and is also a member of the class. He said the racks probably would be put in public places, such as parks.
“We are working with the city (of Prineville) and the county to determine where we can install them,” he said.
Initial drawings of the bike racks show the wagon wheel design holding two to seven bikes and the hitchin’ post design holding seven bikes, but Carpenter said both designs could be expanded to fit where they’re placed.
“We are going to have the flexibility to make those as long as we want them,” he said.
Bike racks would be welcome in Prineville, said John Malpass, owner of Back Alley Bikes, a Prineville bike shop.
“There are very few,” he said Tuesday morning after taking a call while waiting in line at the bank. “In fact I have my bike tied to a post outside of the bank here.”
Mayor Betty Roppe also likes the idea of bike racks in Prineville.
“People like to ride their bikes downtown,” she said. “… This will be an asset for us.”
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