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Council takes pause on pricey downtown bike racks

Submitted by on March 20, 2019 – 12:44 amNo Comment

The Alpena Municipal Council held a lengthy debate this week, on whether to support two pricey bicycle racks for downtown, or whether that money might be better spent on less expensive, but additional racks that could serve more people in more places.

City staff and the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) are in favor of the two racks, which combined would cost close to $25,000 with installation.  The cost of the two covered racks alone is nearly $7,000 for an 8-bike rack and more than $9,000 for one that holds up to 10 bikes.

Councilwoman Amber Hess and Mayor Matt Waligora are not convinced the canopy or covered portion of the bike racks is needed, which accounts for 93 percent of the total cost.  Hess, in particular, would rather see that money spent on more, but less expensive racks that are also needed at some city beaches, parks and elsewhere.

The DDA has $10,000 set aside for the two bike racks and the city would pitch in the other $15,000.  Instead of taking a vote on the project, council asked staff to speak with the DDA again to see if it agrees that more bike racks might be better than just two covered racks; or if the DDA can afford to pay for the two racks on its own.

Waligora also asked staff to talk with some business owners to see if new racks could be fabricated locally.

Council could still vote to move forward with the more expensive racks.