Bike-sharing program debuts in Grayslake
The first bike-sharing program in Lake County debuted Friday in Grayslake with a message from organizers that transcended the benefits of exercise and environmental sustainability.
While those were key elements, it was also the partnership of the village, College of Lake County, Grayslake Area Public Library and Grayslake Community Park District that was recognized during the introduction at Central Park.
"Four taxing bodies working together -- it warms my heart and is going to warm the community's heart," said Mary Clees a Grayslake resident who raised the possibility of a countywide bike-sharing system nearly four years ago.
"I think there's a lot of opportunity to work together. It means a lot to people," she said during the introduction of Grayslake Bikeshare, which has the working moniker "We Ride Grayslake."
The idea surfaced in discussions between Clees and David Husemoller, CLC's sustainability manager. He and representatives from the other agencies were on hand Friday for a ceremonial ribbon cutting to mark the availability of 21 bikes in five locations throughout Grayslake.
"This has been such a long time coming," he said. "It's a new thing, and we were working with multiple jurisdictions and we had to see who wanted to be part of it."
When the dust settled, the initial two-year pilot program with Koloni Inc. was centered in Grayslake.
"Only the Grayslake community came together to connect and commit," Husemoller said.
Rentals of the bright orange three-speeds are $3 for the first hour and $1 per hour after that, with payment made via an app.
Bikes are available at Central Park, Mill Creek Park, the CLC campus, the Grayslake Metra station and in the village's downtown area.
Besides increasing physical activity, supporters say bike sharing helps the environment by providing an alternative to driving and connects the community, among other benefits.
Grayslake has more than 22 miles of bike trails and access to an extensive system of local, county and forest preserve trails.
"This is the definition of government cooperation," said Marlon Rodas, park district commissioner and treasurer. "The big winner here obviously is our resident and Grayslake itself."
Each agency pays $1,500 per bike it sponsors.
"It's not a revenue producer," said Kristin Splitt, the park district executive director. "It's a service to the community."