Bike rental program gets name

The city of Columbus is on a path toward greater connectivity and an overall improvement in quality of life.

That’s the message Brian Payne, president and CEO of the Central Indiana Community Foundation, had for residents at the Columbus Park Foundation’s annual community meeting Thursday.

Payne’s organization was the mastermind behind the Cultural Trail BikeShare program in downtown Indianapolis. He offered his praise for Columbus after the Park Foundation unveiled the official name and bike of the long-awaited Columbus BikeShare program — ColumBIKE.

ColumBIKE will launch May 21 and will allow residents to rent a white B-Cycle bike with either a daily or yearly pass. The name was selected through a public survey, said April Williams, project and resource development director for the foundation.

BikeShare programs are crucial in today’s world, Payne said. People want to have the ability to easily connect from place to place, but are growing tired of the monotony of riding in their cars, he said.

But with ColumBIKE, Columbus residents and visitors will be able to travel through the city in a way that allows them to exercise while also viewing the city’s sites in a new way, Payne said.

“People can take a journey on your BikeShare,” he said.

But Payne did have one cautionary piece of advice for the Park Foundation as it prepares to launch the ColumBIKE. In order for the program to be truly successful, the city’s People Trails system must connect to the downtown area.

The foundation is already trying to heed Payne’s advice as it takes steps toward connecting some existing legs of the People Trails.

Much of the foundation’s 2016 efforts will be focused on the Downtown Riverfront Project, which aims to connect the trail that ends at Lafayette Street to Mill Race Park.

Students from Columbus Signature Academy — New Tech campus were asked to present their ideas for the Riverfront Project to the foundation and other city leaders on ways to repair the dam, incorporate art along the trails and establish a connection between the Second and Third street bridges downtown.

Larah Henderson, a New Tech freshman, was among the students who worked with city leaders on the Riverfront Project. Her idea was to connect the trails in a way that would offer entertainment and recreation for people of all ages. Launching ColumBIKE is a good first step toward creating her vision, she said.

“It’s getting people more fit and it’s more for teenagers,” Henderson said. “Right now we don’t have much for teens.”

Aside from ColumBIKE, the foundation’s annual meeting also shared details about other upcoming projects in 2016, including the city’s first Beer Fest.

Beer Fest, which will be conducted Aug. 27, is expected to bring in 50 beer vendors, said Doug Fauth, a foundation member who presented plans for this year. So far, 17 vendors have already committed to serving at the fest, and 2,000 people have already showed an interest on social media.

A sponsor night will be conducted March 3 to help the foundation pay for Beer Fest, Fauth said.

While ColumBIKE and the Beer Fest are two of the largest efforts the Park Foundation will undertake this year, several other projects are also in the works. Members of the community are encouraged to support the foundation on projects that make Columbus a better and healthier place to live for people of all ages.

“Everyone can get involved in events that they’re really passionate about,” Fauth said.

Meeting highlights

2015 recap

  • Introduced “Curiosity Machine” program through Race2Play
  • Introduced Columbus Ninja Warrior
  • Completed renovation of Hamilton Center and Ice Arena
  • Continued work on the Downtown Riverfront Project

Plans for 2016

  • Columbus Beer Fest on Aug. 27 — expected to bring in 50 beer vendors and thousands of guests
  • Disc golf in Noblitt Park — a CSA – New Tech senior project
  • Columbus Ninja Warrior on April 9
  • Arbor Day Columbus Tree Canopy Committee
  • Continued work on the Custer-Nugent Amphitheatre
  • Continued work on the Downtown Riverfront Project

BikeShare program

  • ColumBIKE
  • White B-Cycle bike
  • Launching May 21
  • Yearly and daily passes
Author photo
Olivia Covington is a reporter for The Republic. She can be reached at ocovington@therepublic.com or 812-379-5712.