A local organization is pursuing plans to launch a community-wide bicycle program, through which adult bicycles would be made available throughout town for use by any member of the public.
Jason Benson, general manager of the Simply Achieving Life’s Triumphs (SALT), presented his proposal to Chillicothe City Council members during their regular council meeting Monday evening at City Hall.
SALT’s primary focus is to end poverty and homelessness in Chillicothe by giving poor and homeless individuals opportunities, as well educating and encouraging them toward independence.
Benson has requested a letter of agreement from the city to donate the adult bicycles that are collected through municipal or other means to the Green Bike Project, under the jurisdiction of the SALT Organization.
He said the intent of the bicycles is to be refurbished, registered with the Chillicothe Police Department, and maintained for public use. The bicycles would be painted an identifiable green and made available for every citizen and visitor to Chillicothe within the city limits.
Benson explained that once donated to the organization, SALT will assume all responsibility and liability for the safe and secure storage, insurance, maintenance, distribution and use of those bicycles and bicycle parts.
He said the program would provide not only transportation benefits, but benefits to one’s health and the environment and cost savings for the user, by not having to use a motor vehicle.
Benson said that the scope of the proposed project focuses specifically on adult bicycles, noting that the Joy Toys, which is a program of the RSVP, works with children’s bicycles. He said he would like to have between 100 and 150 bicycles to start the program and be operational by spring 2013.
Bicycles racks would be placed in areas of high pedestrial traffic areas, highly-populated residential areas, and high employment areas.
City Attorney Robert Cowherd said the city would be unable to donate the bicycles to a private entity; however, it could be possible that the city could enter into a contract for an organization to purchase the bicycles.
Marvin Holcer, who is involved with RSVP and the Senior Center, provided some history regarding the Joy Toys project and stated that he would collect bicycles from the city for distribution. He stated that Chillicothe does not have a calling for such an adult bicycle program, adding that the bicycle riders in town have bikes. He also stated concerns about liability.
Benson stated that SALT would have insurance to cover the Green Bike program.
He asked council members what would need to happen in order to bring the Green Bike program to fruition.
“I’m pretty dedicated to seeing this happen,” he said.