Eight local nonprofit organizations and groups that were awarded challenge grants in October 2018 have completed their projects. Two of the nonprofits were based in South Knoxville: the Vestal Community Organization and the South Woodlawn Neighborhood Association.
The City of Knoxville Parks and Recreation Department awarded the challenge grant- totaling $15,782- to nonprofit organizations and groups that completed beautification projects or upgrades on public properties. Part of the challenge grant allows “matching” a project’s financial needs by 50 percent, and then the community organizations are able to pay the rest.
The Vestal Community Organization has completed engraving marble caps for the arch at Vestal Gateway Park, and the South Woodlawn Neighborhood Association (SWNA) has implemented a bike pump and bike stand at Sam Duff Park.
Janice Tocher, President of SWNA, expressed her gratitude for the City’s help throughout the installation process of the Sam Duff Park bicycle repair station.
“Being a neighborhood association, we go off dues, and our dues are very small,” Tocher said. The bicycle repair station that was planned to be placed in Sam Duff Park, which was inspired by Kickstand Community Bike Shop, would come to a total of $1,100. Because of the challenge grant, SWNA had to raise $550, but the City ended up taking care of that cost as well. “One of the nice things about the challenge grants is that if you put in volunteer hours, they will reimburse you $10/hour for your volunteer work. We were able to get enough volunteer hours that the pump and bicycle stand were paid for as well.”
With the grant, bicycle riders can rest assured that repair tools, air pumps for tires and a bike stand all wait for them at Sam Duff Park if necessary.
Tocher hopes that SWNA can go even further with the bicycle repair station and collaborate with Kickstand Community Bike Shop and local Boys and Girls Clubs.
“[Kickstand Community Bike Shop] has worked with several Boys and Girls Clubs and community centers and have had various bicycle repair stations at various places within Knoxville and Knox County. We’d love to help them work out a smartphone app that people can look up and say ‘I’m here, and I’ve got a broken down bike. Where is the closest repair station?’ That way, we should have something for our bicycle riders that may be needing repair to know where to find it,” she said.
Overall, Tocher assured that the new park amenity would not have been possible without the city’s help.
“It makes us proud that we were able to come together and find a solution. There’s a lot more bicycle riders in South Knoxville, and we’re proud to provide this as something for people who will be riding bikes in the area. For us, the help from the City was… there’s no words. We wouldn’t have been able to do it without cooperation from the City,” she said.