Lake City’s bike lending program becomes rewarding community asset
In Lake City, a program is proving that biking can be much more than transportation. It can also be a community asset that gives residents the chance to be more physically active and healthier.
Lake City, with support from a Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP) grant that was coordinated through Wabasha County SHIP, launched its Community Bike Program in 2015. The city has eight bikes that can be checked out for free daily during biking season at Lake City Marina.
“It would have been very hard for us to implement this program ourselves,” said Megan Smith, Assistant City Planning Director for Lake City. “We were approached by Lake City Active Living (a group of three local residents who work to promote physical activity in the city) and they encouraged us to work with SHIP on the grant.”
Grant went a long way to promote healthier lifestyles
SHIP offers mini grants to community partners for initiatives that promote active living. The community bike program is making it easier for people to incorporate healthy behaviors into their daily lives, which is one of the goals of SHIP.
Lake City’s grant was used to buy nine bikes (the city holds one in reserve in case one of the bikes needs repairs), signage and 10 helmets.
Photo top: Lake City Active Living Group members Jim Schreck, Frank Lupton and Patty Svien pose at the Lake City Marina, where the new bike sharing program is available.
The program’s goal is to make sure bikes are available to anyone wanting to ride one, whether it be for recreation, exercise or transportation purposes, according to Smith.
“I was impressed by the amount of use the bikes received in year one,” Smith said. “It’s a testament to how necessary the right partnerships are to making a program a success.”
The city pays for staffing, insurance, bike racks and incidental materials.
“As a community, we have to look at how we can be healthier,” she said. “This was great for us. Thanks to the SHIP funding, we are able to offer bike usage for free and that definitely helped it succeed.”