S.C. Non-Profit is Offering Free Bike Share Bicycles to S.C Municipalities
Conway, South Carolina — A Horry County, South Carolina-based, arts, cultural and liveability focused non-profit organization has 27 bike share bicycles and, they are willing to provide the bikes at no charge to a South Carolina municipality that wants to partner to create a bike share program.
The 27 used Worksman Cycles bike share bicycles were purchased in February 2017 as part of a funding initiative provided to Conway Cultural Development Corporation by the Waccamaw Community Foundation through their Knight Foundation donor-advised funding program for the purposes of creating a Cultural District in Conway, South Carolina.
Yet, the City of Conway has refused to collaborate with the organization and, this refusal to collaborate has cut-off their second year of funding for the local cultural district and, the non-profit is left with the question about what to do with the 27 bike share bicycles.
As part of their proposal to develop a cultural district in Conway, S.C. the non-profit organization purchased the Worksman bicycles on GovDeals.com for $1,300.00 from the Spokies bike share program in Oklahoma City, OK. At the time, the organization thought that the idea of creating a bike share seemed like a good one because Worksman Cycles, a manufacturer of heavy-duty bicycles and tricycles as well as food vending carts and bike share bicycles recently invested $2.5 million to move their operations from Ozone Park, New York to Conway, South Carolina.
Once the bicycles arrived in Conway, Dr. Dennis Stevens, the organization’s president, reached out to the City of Conway, Conway City Council, Conway Downtown Alive and the Conway Chamber of Commerce via email and in a Facebook post to explore if they were willing to collaborate on bike share program.
The reaction that he received from City Council and the other non-profits surprised Stevens as several councilpersons suggested that it was inappropriate for the non-profit organization to take leadership action without consulting with Conway City Council first.
The problem was pinpointed when Stevens met on September 29th, 2017 with Interim City Administrator, Adam Emrick in a meeting called by the lead funding organization to determine the specific ways in which Conway Cultural Development can collaborate with the City of Conway for the second phase of the organization’s funding to create a cultural district in Conway.
At that meeting, Emrick explained that City Council has advised Emrick that the City of Conway should not collaborate with Conway Cultural Development Corporation. Because the City refuses to collaborate with the non-profit, the foundation rejected the organization’s second year funding request from the organization because it did not see opportunities in Conway, S.C. for co-creation, collaboration and shared responsibility.
Conway Cultural Development Corporation is now questioning what to do with the bikes relative to their mission to use creative placemaking to revitalize South Carolina communities by designing, developing, and implementing public projects that link arts, cultural and heritage strategies to education, economic development, and urban planning and design. The organization is open to new collaborative partnerships and the potential of rebranding.
According to Stevens, “Since the Conway City Council is unwilling to work with us — we’re moving on to work with other partners in South Carolina.”
The organization is open to partnerships with South Carolina municipalities that share their values of collaborating in ways that enrich communities and enhance livability through the arts and culture as well as using arts and culture as a force to attract visitors and businesses.
Dr. Dennis Stevens is the president and founder of Conway Cultural Development Corporation, a South Carolina-based non-profit that uses creative placemaking to revitalize communities by designing, developing, and implementing public projects that link arts, cultural and heritage strategies to education, economic development, and urban planning and design.