HOPE Center Receives Good News for Bicycle Plans


Flowers on the Fence at HOPE Center, Playground in Background


Members of the HOPE Coalition held their final meeting of the year at the Lincoln School for an update on student activities and developing plans for increased bicycling opportunities in the community.

Coalition member, Byron Long, circulated an informational email to members recently, detailing donations from QBP Bikes and Park Tools. He said approximately $3,000 in tools and parts are being donated to the bike shop which will be located in a spare work room behind the Lincoln School gymnasium.  Park Tools is donating two professional shop-quality bike stands with steel bases worth $1,500 and QBP bikes is donating two wheel-truing stands and three sets of the Park Tools Pro Mechanic Kit worth another $1,500.

He added that the school district gave the HOPE Center permission to convert the room off the gym into a dedicated bike shop and work will begin to construct work benches and getting bids for bike storage lofts. The goal is to have the shop ready to offer bike repair classes following the winter break.  These donations will help teach Lamar students the value of bike repair and get broken bikes up and running and out in the community.  Long said volunteers will be sought to help with the shop in the near future.

Last month, Gary Sjoquist, Community Cycling Advocate from QBP bikes, met with the Coalition to explain how his company works to develop communities into biking destinations for enthusiasts. The company plans to help provide with donations of bike parts, as well as outdoor tire pumps and tool stations along the Lamar Loop Trail.  It plans to help support a bike sharing system for students and families and introduce cycling as a school program.  Lamar Parks and Rec Director, Rick Akers, met with Sjoquist during his visit to discuss how the program can be integrated into the Lamar community.  The city has applied for GoCO grants which will help fund the purchase of over 100 bikes as well as storage units so they can be loaned out through the year to riders.

In other action, the Coalition was updated on the annual Girls in the Middle program which will be held the first Saturday in March of next year. Girls from the 5th to 8th grades are invited to participate with a $7 fee at the door and $5 for pre-registration to cover costs of the event.

The Center’s Executive Director, Lori Hammer, described the Pumpkin Run held several weeks ago. The scavenger hunt had about 60 participants with kids receiving clues which would lead them to participating stores in Lamar.  Each stop offered clues the kids had to solve, leading them to their goal which turned out to be located at the top of Pikes Tower in Willow Creek Park.  Following the hunt, the students’ enjoyed a party at the Center.  On parties, Hammer said the annual Christmas Party is set for December 14 and the planned sod for the playground won’t be applied to the field until April of next year.

She reminded the Coalition the community-wide, Thanksgiving dinner will be held for a second year at the Center on Thanksgiving Day, November 23rd and meals will be served by volunteers between 11am the 3pm.  “There were a lot more donations this year and we really expect this to be a large gathering,” she explained.  HOPE students have been busy constructing holiday centerpieces for the tables.

Hammer said students have been preparing letters to be mailed to the Mayor of Lamar and the school board with their top ten ideas for areas of focus for next year and they plan to request permission to have the bug art projects put on display at the planned skateboard park, set to be constructed next year at Willow Creek Park. Hammer added that there will be no Coalition meeting in December.

By Russ Baldwin

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