By JIM MISUNAS
ST. JOHN — The Bike and Build volunteers enjoyed their 2015 experience with Stafford County Economic, so they will return to Stafford County Tuesday.
“They thought it was heartening that they made the biggest impact in St. John of all the days they worked last year,” said Carolyn Dunn, Stafford County economic development director. “ They wanted to come back. That was kind of neat.”
Volunteer labor will work on installing cabinets at a Launch Pad Business Incubator and removing plaster at Gray’s Studio, both of which have second floor apartment spaces.
“These bicyclists had to make an extra effort to come here,” said Dunn. “It lengthened their route by about 100 miles. It is especially encouraging to see that they see value in the work we are doing and are willing to make that effort to be a part of it. We benefit from their volunteer help, and it is affirming and energizing to have their group here.”
Last year, the Bike and Build cyclists demolished a property at 207 Pleasant in Hudson. They punched holes in walls and safely created new space in the vacant house. The $10,000 property is occupied by a Stafford County family. A $7,500 grant from Bike and Build will purchase materials for construction and rehabilitation.
The cyclists’ work valued at several thousand dollars was highlighted by interior demolition work, in addition to painting the garage and landscaping work. Crews in Stafford painted a downtown Stafford storefront owned by the Stafford Chamber of Commerce and painted and repaired bleachers at the Stafford County Fairgrounds.
Stafford County Economic Development is working to improve the availability of modern, affordable housing and has acquired grants to construct a Launch Pad Business Incubator with living quarters on the second floor.
The 27 cyclists are traveling 3,584 miles from Nags Head, N.C. to San Diego, Calif. in 10 weeks. They stop at 10 locations to contribute their volunteer time. This will be the organization’s only stop for a build day in Kansas, two years in a row. Bike and Build has contributed more than $5.5 million to housing groups over the past 11 years.
“I am so happy with the partnership we have developed with this organization, which has extended two grants and two years of volunteer labor that has a combined value of approximately $30,000 over three years,” Dunn said. “I love the way the energy of these young adults is directed in a way that has purpose, but is also lots of fun!”
Bike and Build participants are Austin Balser, Alden Kennenich, Amelia Riely, Alex Selden, Chris Polansky, Carrie Zimmerman, Elliot Chen, Erin Wheatley, Elizabeth Chatham, Emily Foss, Grace Jenkins, Jan Aldrin Enabore, Jessica Lipsett, Lynette Cole, Lizabeth Rodriguez, Marley Marano, Maureen Bishop, Martin Braun, Nicholas Allen, Nicholas Czekaj, Natalie Juhl, Nick Moncy, Nicole Parke, Ryan Bush, Sarah Hey, Shawn Rupp, Samantha Seldon, Sawyer Smith and Zoe Rose Clarke.
Eco Devo has contributed to the housing inventory by constructing a brand new duplex in Macksville in 2014 and a single-family home in Stafford earlier this year.
Eco Devo also completed renovations on a house in Hudson in early January. All of these properties are currently occupied on a rent or rent-to-own basis. A grant of $3,900 from Bike and Build in 2015 is contributing to Stafford Eco Devo’s work in construction.
Bike and Build raises funds and organizes cross-country bicycle rides to support affordable housing efforts. The organization offers eight cross-country biking trips each summer.
Bike and Build is a national organization that raises funds and organizes cross-country bicycle rides to support affordable housing efforts.
Nationally, the organization offers eight cross-country and two regional biking trips each summer with a total of 265 riders. Riders 18 to 25 years raise at least $4,500 to help fund trip costs and provide grants to affordable housing efforts.
For information about Bike and Build and to read the riders’ bios visit www.bikeandbuild.org.