Below is an update on our progress building a Community Bicycle and Transportation Center in the heart of Missoula. We need help bringing this to fruition! Can you spread this effort to your networks? thanks...
For Immediate Release:
Free Cycles Missoula and Missoula Institute for Sustainable Transportation Gain Extension for Capital Campaign to July 1st
"The Cycles of Change campaign has been sprouting wings with support from thousands of people," said Executive Director, Bob Giordano. "We have raised $125,000 from grassroots efforts, and now we need the help of many more people to secure our home," he goes on to say. While the long term goal is still to raise 1.1 million and buy the property outright, if the non-profit can raise $330,00, or 30%, by the July 1st deadline, then bank financing with a mortgage becomes a viable path to success.
Free Cycles has recorded over 200,000 shop visits since 1996, helping 18,000 people earn a free bicycle and teaching 5,000 people laws, safety, and maintenance in the award-winning BikeWell class. Located in the heart of Missoula, the two acre property, which is equivalent to a full city block, is an ideal place to continue the work of Free Cycles and its umbrella organization, the Missoula Institute for Sustainable Transportation. Both provide essential services to help people get to work, buy groceries, and go about their daily lives in a healthy way.
"Once I'm riding the cycle, I'm saving money, saving energy, and saving time. Without a bicycle, it would be difficult to get around the city, for shopping, classes and errands" said Mamunur Rahman, a visiting Humprhey fellow from Bangladesh, who received a free bike from Free Cycles after taking a BikeWell class and volunteering four hours.
The location is extremely accessible, being at the union of two primary trails. The plan is to preserve the existing buildings to honor Missoula’s heritage, and eventually transition to 100% renewable energy, thus creating a pathway to a liveable future.
Further, the non-profit provides valuable community participation opportunities, from shop enhancements to helping people build bikes to effectively advocating for safe, enjoyable streets and trails. “One reason I love Free Cycles is because I know I can come in to get help, give help, get creative, or talk about ways to make safer streets,” says volunteer Cameron Best.
"We have been honored to help Missoula become one of America's great bicycle cities, yet much work remains in order to make the transportation system better for all people," says Giordano.
"Missoula has a strong, passionate support network of people and organizations that make it a unique and loveable place to live. Maintaining this property will help ensure the longevity of accessible, equitable, safe, and environmentally sound transportation systems for the Missoula community and beyond,” says Programs Director, Emily Jensen.
Jensen elaborates: “Having a permanent hub to continue our work will increase capacity, strengthen our programs, and improve our efficacy. Under Free Cycles ownership, the land and buildings will be transitioned into replicable models of ways to address difficult societal challenges such as climate change, social justice, and urban growth. Our current transportation system tends to marginalize low-income people and create a culture of segregation. This project aims to reverse that dynamic and continue to build a more positive future. The local array of community services is gaining strength. The Poverello, PEAS Farm, Home Resource, MUD, and Food Bank have all recently secured a home. Free Cycles Missoula is a vital next success story."
Property ownership would also help Free Cycles bring to fruition a fabrication center for helping those with mobility challenges and turning scrap metal into useful tools. The plan also includes a community bike share for short term bike lending and a transportation learning center with a focus on growing a healthy city. Over the years, the organization has taught over a hundred interns about transportation topics ranging from policy to how to adjust the spokes of a wheel.
Another huge aspect of the non-profit's mission is educating, empowering, and engaging youth. For instance, on Monday, May 23rd, with the help of Bikers Against Bullies USA and the Dixon School District, Free Cycles worked with the entire school of 49 students. Thirty bikes were tuned by volunteers and staff, and during the event students were taught how to fix their own rides. By the end of the day, everyone's hands were dirty, laughter was in the air, Robert finally replaced his stem bolt, and the stoke on bikes was as high as the nearby Mission Mountains. Additionally, the Dixon School now has their very own space dedicated to fixing bikes outfitted with the proper tools. For the past 20 years, Free Cycles has facilitated over 160 school outreach events similar to this.
“The demand from the citizens is here. We are bursting at the seams. It is critical we own the property to expand our space and programs. Land is the medium for service,” says Giordano.
People can donate three ways:
-Drop by the shop at 732 S. 1st St W. from 10AM-6PM, Tuesday to Saturday
-Mail a check to 91 Campus Dr. #1412, Missoula, MT 59801
For more information, please visit www.freecycles.org or contact Executive Director, Bob Giordano, at email@example.com Programs Director, Emily Jensen, firstname.lastname@example.org 406-541-7284 ### Please forward this Release to all interested parties