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Grant pays for bike racks around Fredericktown
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Grant pays for bike racks around Fredericktown

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The Madison County MU Extension 4-H program used grant funds to purchase bike racks to place around Fredericktown. 

"The funding for the racks was obtained through FCS Financial and their Shaping Rural Missouri Grant," 4-H Youth Program Associate Jacqulyn Ward said. "Each year they provide 4-H and FFA chapters an opportunity to bring about positive change and add tangible value to their community through collaboration with other community groups."

Once the $500 grant was awarded, Ward ordered the bike racks and City of Fredericktown workers installed two in the Court Square, one at Rotary Park and another will be placed at the new ballpark at a later date. 

"I wanted the racks to be placed in active locations that allowed for maximum exposure to its users," Ward said. "There is a rack at the Azalea Park but you would have a steep walk to the court square. Including racks around the square means riders can have access to a practical locking system."

Ward said the wave bike racks will benefit the community by adding safe places for cyclists and leisure riders to lock up their equipment.

"The racks also represent efforts to improve, understand and introduce bike culture in our area and embrace a sustainable mode of transportation," Ward said.

MU Extension seeks to educate, create and connect. Ward said the bike rack project is a great example of this.

"In the office we are working to set up small events to educate youth and adults alike, on basic cycling knowledge and safety and share the benefits of an active lifestyle," Ward said. "Many learn how to ride a bike at a younger age but do not continue riding into adulthood."

Ward said Madison County currently does not have the "bike culture" that places such as Madison, Wisconsin, Tuscon, Arizona, or Fort Collins, Colorado share. 

"Cycling can provide not only health benefits but allow for an economical option for those who may not be able to afford a car or wish to leave a smaller carbon footprint," Ward said. "More racks creates accessibility to sport and hobby."

Ward said other Extensions have teamed with the Livable Streets Alliance to implement its goals and vision which are to connect people and places. 

"The Alliance advocates for creating practical, people-centered transportation that can break some of those barriers individuals face in getting from home to work or appointments," Ward said. "The completion of the bike rack project is one step closer to more vibrant and safe public spaces in our community."

Ward said the wave design was the most cost-effective way to ensure multiple racks could be installed. She said they are a durable powder-coated steel and should provided enjoyment for years to come.

"I want to thank FCS Financial for providing the county the grant funds and Sarah Gehring who is our FCS rep. for the process," Ward said. "There is so much gratitude to City Administrator James Settle and the city department for working with me and doing the installation for the racks." 

Ward said she would also like to thank Shanna Sorg who was the first person to inform her of the Livable Streets Alliance and Denny Henke for his passion on the subject.

"Denny Henke has been great for his passion in getting the word out about cycling and e-bike alternatives to fueled transportation and willingness to see and support our efforts to bring bike culture to Fredericktown," Ward said. 

Victoria Kemper is a reporter for the Daily Journal. She can be reached at 573-783-3366 or at vkemper@democratnewsonline.com

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