The Rotary Club of Amherstburg will be applying to the Rotary foundation for funding as the local club wants to support a cycling initiative.
James Braakman, Glyn Buck and Amanda Dywelska from the Windsor-Essex Bike Community (WEBC) appeared at the Rotary Club’s most recent meeting, held last Wednesday night in the community room at Amherstburg Community Services (ACS).
WEBC gained unanimous approval from town council at its Dec. 11 meeting to move forward with phase two of the four-phase trail project at the Libro Centre. The first phase was approved and completed in 2023 behind the berm that is next to the football/soccer field and the main baseball diamond. The second phase will go next to it as it starts to wrap around the back of the arena building itself.
Braakman noted they raised $30,000 in six weeks for the initial phase and have started fundraising for phase two. They are official land stewards, having signed an agreement with the Town of Amherstburg.
“We completed the first phase in about three months, which is really fast,” said Braakman.
Braakman touted the first three kilometre trail as something that has brought the community together, noting there have been camps, races and group rides at the trail. Local schools such as North Star High School have used the trail as well.
The second biking trail would be about three to four kilometres and more of a cross country track without the mountain biking elements phase one has. Over 1,500 volunteer hours were used to create the first phase, said Braakman.
WEBC members bombarded town council members with over 100 e-mails calling for the approval of phase two, which they received. Cost to constructed the second phase of the trail is estimated at $15,130 but WEBC is looking to raise between $20,000-$30,000 to help offset maintenance costs for the two phases.
Dywelska told the Rotarians that riding on the trails can be “as competitive or leisurely as you want it to be,” with the WEBC members stating they view the trails as inclusive due to people of all ages being able to utilize them.
Buck called the trail construction “a collaborative effort” that requires partnerships in the community.
“We need the help,” said Buck. “We need the support.”
Susanne Rainhard, acting president of the Rotary Club of Amherstburg, said they view the trails as a multi-use project. She added it also promotes health and wellness, including mental health, and that is a priority of the Rotary District 6400 this year.
Rotarian Jeremy Warnock added the request from WEBC “ticks off a lot of boxes” when it comes to getting a Rotary grant.
By Ron Giofu