|When we first came together to start this project in 2007, we chose to revitalize a rented building in a blighted area. We mobilized the community and raised finances to turn a moldy storage area into a functional bike shop.
Over time it became apparent that the poor condition of the building was holding us back from functioning at our full capabilities, and that as renters we had no means to implement the improvements.
We embarked on a fundraising effort, and purchased a building at the county delinquent tax auction. We wanted to tap into the pool of 7,000 abandoned buildings in our community, and provide a stable future for the organization.
We hope to be a model for other groups who want to have long-term community impact and create social capital, by encouraging them to see the potential in blighted areas and make a sustainable investment there.
The storefront of this facility has better pedestrian traffic, and offers triple the square footage of our old building, while allowing us to remain invested in the same neighborhood. We envision using the new space to create a hub of bicycle advocacy and activity in the Kansas City area.
We would like to expand beyond the current 816 Bicycle Collective workshop, to include office space for other bicycle advocacy groups, and to reach out across the geographically extensive Kansas City metro area. We plan to function as a headquarters, facilitator, and guide for promoting bicycle related activities and businesses in our region.
Our vision goes further: As we continue to train more and more volunteers, we have aspirations to someday create a space that encourages other forms of community outreach. We will expand our youth programming, offer specialty classes for adults, and organize more city lobbying towards bicycle advocacy.
We have the skills and tools, and soon we will have the facility and programming to embark on localized production of merchandise, bike frames, parts and bicycle-powered technology.
In order to move forward we have to first undertake some essential renovations to the building. We are reaching out to the Kansas City community to help us expedite this transition. Already, many community members, skilled laborers and politicians are stepping up to lend a hand for the move, and to help in the reconstruction effort.
Our goal is to raise $50,000.00 by the end of this fall. We have been offered resources from various local contractors and partners that will leverage this amount to achieve a swift project completion. If we meet this goal we can expect to move in and have our shop operational by next summer.
Do your part in supporting this community effort, realizing our vision, and restoring a marvelous building in the heart of midtown KCMO by donating your time, skills, or money.