Decatur is finalist for grant, plans to build ‘bike bus’
By Mary Margaret Stewart, contributor
The City of Decatur earned a spot as a finalist in KaBOOM’s Play Everywhere Challenge (PEC).
PEC is a $1 million competition for cities in the United States, and grants are awarded to “outside-the-box ideas to make play easy, available, and fun for kids and families.”
Decatur’s idea for PEC originated in a collaboration of a few Pedestrian Advisory Committee members, Active Living staff members and Doug Faust, Executive Director of the Decatur Housing Authority. After brainstorming, they crafted a vision for the JUMP Playspace under the bridge across from the Decatur Police Department and the Pedal to School Bike Bus.
“We were able to apply for two grants and were finalists for both of them. Out of over 100 grants they received, Decatur made it to the final 200,” Assistant Director of Decatur Active Living Cheryl Burnette said.
Burnette said the play space under the bridge would bring beneficial health and lifestyle changes to the city.
“As you may know, children that are active do better in school,” she said. “The JUMP Playspace will be a space where children from the Decatur Housing Authority can play with other children from throughout the community.”
Winners will be announced this fall and grant money is released in March, which is when the city would order the bus, Burnette said.
“The bus is manufactured in the Netherlands, and we estimate the turnaround time on it to be a month or so,” Burnette said.
The bike bus’ plan allows for 11 children to bike themselves to school from DHA. As of right now, kids will “‘apply’ to be passengers.”
Burnette said that since bikes and cars share the city streets, the bike bus is also deemed a vehicle for the roads.
“We will have children interested attend Bike Safety training, and if there are more than 11 children, we would rotate them weekly,” she said. “We plan to use the bus once a week to transport children from DHA to Clairemont Elementary School.”