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In January, 2017, The Steel Yard in Providence won a $10,000 grant from the PeopleForBikes Coalition for its Weld to Work Program. PeopleForBikes is a national bike advocacy organization and foundation that last year distributed more than $500,000 to non-profits, community bicycle programs, and other advocacy organizations around the nation. The Steel Yard’s Weld to Work Program is a paid job readiness program designed to expand the employable skill set of participants, improving their odds of securing jobs in local industries. The PeopleForBikes Coalition grant enabled program participants to create bike hitches that would become an amenity encouraging bicycling for both transportation and recreation and that would also serve as a great learning project for beginning fabricators and welders. At the end of the year-long grant program, 32 custom bike hitches had been designed, built and installed for free in communities all around Rhode Island. East Greenwich is a recipient of one, now in place at the head of the East Greenwich Nature Trail, accessible from the end of the playing fields access road at East Greenwich High School. It is hoped that the interesting and attractive rack will encourage bicycle commuting to school and athletic events and also stimulate more interest in bicycling for general well-being and recreation.
Pictured with the new bike rack are Jenny Sparks of The Steel Yard, East Greenwich Planning Department employee Aaron Lindo, who provided site data and mapping for The Steel Yard’s installation team, and Planning Board member and avid bicycling enthusiast Ben Lupovitz.