Conner Hunt was one of the original group of bike club students at Oak Creek Elementary. For those coaches who haven't had the opportunity to meet Conner (or his younger brother Nolan), Conner and Nolan really took to the program. In May 2019, as a rising 7th grader, Conner earned a new bike and the only reason he didn't participate in bike club last fall was because he joined the NICA team and his mom was getting him to practice on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Conner, Nolan and their older brother Wille have been building bike jumps in their yard.
Unfortunately, Conner's new bike got run over by a car and destroyed late last year. When Principal Nayadin told me about it, we conjured up a scheme where, by performing community service around the school, Conner could earn a replacement bike. The attached video shows his being surprised to receive it. If you listen closely, you can hear Conner say "I though I had to do more..."
So far, 46 new bikes, helmets and locks have been awarded to students in the Cottonwood-Oak Creek Elementary School District and 26 bikes/helmets/locks are on order for Beaver Creek and Camp Verde students who have earned them and will be delivered later this month. With a little luck, over 80 bikes will be awarded this year throughout the Verde Valley.
The Bike Park at Oak Creek Elementary (and Mountain View Academy in Cottonwood) moved another step closer to reality on Wednesday. The Catena Foundation, in conjunction with Progressive Trail Designs (PTD) out of Bentonville, AR, awarded a joint grant/in-kind donation for PTD to work with the schools and FUN on the concept design. We have a kickoff call on Monday. PTD did a site visit in early March and the grant deliverable will be a report on both schools’ proposed bike parks with maps, site plans, estimates, descriptions, etc. The budget estimate will be a rough order of magnitude and the designs will be conceptual. PTD will also provide a budget for more detailed plans and construction documents if necessary. Catena is funding up to $14,500 and Progressive Trail Design is donating up to $10,500 in services for this phase of the project.
Cottonwood-Oak Creek Elementary School Superintendent, Steve King, has agreed to provide the land necessary for these bike parks and has coordinated with Valley Academy for Career & Technology Education (VACTE) Superintendent Robert Wier to commit to having VACTE provide the student labor and heavy equipment for the project as part of VACTE's hands on vocational training offering. We just need to raise $$$ for material and a professional trail builder foreperson and we have been invited to submit a grant application by the Northern Arizona Healthcare Foundation. Keep your fingers crossed and stay tuned!