City police donation helps provide bicycles to local kids
by Laura Haley
Contributing Writer
May 29, 2014 | 1491 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Moab Police Department recently donated 79 bicycles to the school district for the HMK Bike Swap program. The bikes will be given away to local youth on Saturday. Photo courtesy of the Moab Police Department
The Moab Police Department recently donated 79 bicycles to the school district for the HMK Bike Swap program. The bikes will be given away to local youth on Saturday. Photo courtesy of the Moab Police Department
The new Lions Park Transit Hub and bike path along state Route 128 officially opens May 31. In addition to a free pancake breakfast and a variety of other events, the third annual HMK Bike Swap and Rodeo will also take place in the hub’s parking lot, located at the intersection of U.S. 191 and SR 128.

The bike swap, organized by Western Spirit Cycling and the Grand County School District’s Helen M. Knight Elementary School, aims to provide local kids, ages kindergarten through sixth grade, with bikes.

“The main goal is to redistribute bikes to make it possible for more kids in our community to ride both around their neighborhoods and on local trails,” Ashley Korenblat, co-owner of Western Spirit said.

For the last two years, organizers of the bike swap have handed out approximately 70 bikes to local kids. This year that number will more than double with the donation of 79 surplus bicycles from the Moab City Police Department.

Cindy Montague, an administrative secretary for the police department, said Community Development Director David Olsen initially approached the department about the bikes, which are all found property that has been stored by the police department.

“It really inspired me to get going on this,” Montague said, adding that the department had to follow specific procedures laid out by the state of Utah in order to release the bikes.

“It turned out that we can donate them to a nonprofit organization,” she said.

During a special Moab City Council meeting on May 6, the council voted to donate the bikes to the Grand County School District to make them available for the bike rodeo.

Whenever a bike is turned in or found by the department, it is held for a minimum of 90 days, according to Montague.

“We have to do public notices of found property,” she said. Those notices are posted on Moab city’s website, the state of Utah’s website as well as within the police department.

Many of the bikes that are recovered are never claimed, which has led to a sizeable collection at the department. Montague said some of those bikes have been stored by the department for 12 years.

“This is a unique situation,” Montague said. “The inventory on many of these bikes was done years ago ... It was a perfect opportunity to donate them back to the community.”

“Biking is a major part of our culture in Moab,” Grand County School District Superintendent Scott Crane said. “I enjoy riding my bike as often as I can, and I appreciate all the work that has been done to make our community bike friendly. We are happy and appreciate the opportunity to help support the bike rodeo and the donation by the police department.”

The bike rodeo isn’t just about getting bikes into the community, Korenblat said.

“We also want to teach parents and kids how to fix flats and do simple repairs so a flat tire or a minor mechanical [problem] won’t end their cycling career.”

Moab Mayor David Sakrison said this is the first time the city has donated bicycles to the rodeo.

“It’s a good thing,” he said.

While the bike swap is mainly focused on elementary school aged kids, the donation from the police department may open the possibility of older kids being able to take home a bike as well, Korenblat said.

“If we have more larger bikes, we will reach out to older kids,” she said. “Bottom line, we don’t want bikes rotting away in anyone’s garage or in the police lot. We are super grateful to everyone who helped us find a way to get those bikes out there and rolling.”

Western Spirit is still accepting donated bicycles for the bike swap. Donations should be dropped off at the Western Spirit Cyclying office, 478 E. Mill Creek Dr., by May 30.

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