By JIM MISUNAS
HUDSON — Carolyn Dunn heard about the Bike and Build program last year. The director for Stafford County Economic Development met the cyclists in Dodge City and informed them why Stafford County was a perfect destination.
Dunn’s persistence was rewarded when the 2015 Bike and Build program will stop in Stafford County Monday and Tuesday to work on a house in Hudson and help paint a downtown Stafford storefront owned by the Stafford Chamber of Commerce. They plan to paint and repair bleachers at the Stafford County Fairgrounds.
“They had not received much exposure to rural housing, which is one aspect of community building,” said Carolyn Dunn, Stafford County Economic Development director. “Housing is rooted in the need to preserve a basic social infrastructure.”
Dunn learned that the riders review applications for the next summer during the ride. One rider designated $500 for Stafford County and Stafford’s housing project was mentioned in Bike and Build’s yearly report. Bike and Build generally assist with Habitat for Humanity and Rebuilding America projects.
“It told us we were doing the right thing,” she said. “We were something unique that they were not used to seeing.”
The group of 29 cyclists is traveling 3,593 miles from Nags Head, N.C. to San Diego, Calif. over 10 weeks and will stop at 10 locations to volunteer their time.
Stafford County will be the organization’s only work stop in Kansas.
“It’s reaffirming to connect with others who see the importance of affordable housing in building communities,” said Dunn. “We are excited about because it will directly help us further our work in remodeling this house, but also because having a group of energetic young adults come to our county in turn gives those of us who live here energy.”
The bicyclers will stay overnight in St. John and travel to Hudson and Stafford Tuesday morning. St. John The Apostle Catholic Church volunteers will prepare a dinner Monday night.
When remodeled, it will be offered for rent or rent-to-own, thereby increasing availability of modernized affordable housing, particularly for a young family. A $7,500 grant from Bike and Build in 2014 will help purchase materials for construction and rehabilitation.
The cyclists will perform some interior demolition work, paint the garage and work on landscaping at 207 Pleasant in Hudson, work valued at several thousand dollars.
Stafford County Economic Development is working to improve the availability of modern, affordable housing and has acquired a house in Hudson for rehabilitation.
Stafford EcoDevo is both constructing new housing as well as rehabilitating older housing in its effort to improve overall housing availability. A new duplex was built in Macksville in 2014 and a new home in Stafford will be started in 2015.
For more information about Bike and Build visit www.bikeandbuild.org and for Stafford County Economic Development visit www.staffordecodevo.com.
Bike and Build is a national organization that 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 has contributed more than $4.5 million to housing groups over the past 10 years. Bike and Build has raised more than $500,000 in recent years.
Riders raise a minimum of $4,500 to help fund trip costs and provide grants to affordable housing. Bike and Build has helped provide affordable housing in 47 states.