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26 new bike racks dot Redondo Beach from Leadership Redondo

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Members of the Leadership Redondo Class of 2011 celebrate the completion of their class project on Friday with a ribbon cutting ceremony. Photo by Chelsea Sektnan

Members of the Leadership Redondo Class of 2011 celebrate the completion of their class project on Friday with a ribbon cutting ceremony. Photo by Chelsea Sektnan

The Leadership Redondo Class of 2011 celebrated their graduation and the completion of a successful project on Friday evening after a ribbon-cutting ceremony outside of Captain Kidd’s Fish Market and Restaurant on Harbor Drive. A councilmember also announced a special addition to their project in the form of a hefty grant to expand Harbor Drive’s “bike-ability.”

The 14-member all volunteer group, made up of a variety of professionals who live and work in the city, decided to use their year’s project to promote vitality and healthy living within the city. To do that, they decided to implement a twofold project; installing 40 bike racks around the city and recruiting 4,500 new members to sign up for the Blue Zone Project.

“One’s about getting healthy and one’s about moving naturally and improving bike-ability in the city,” said Aaron Benton, the Special Education Director in the Redondo Beach School District and project leader of the 2011 class.

They decided to install bike racks because some members noticed a lack of them around the city. “And if there were [racks] they were aging and dilapidated,” said 2011 class participant Christian Anthony Horvath.

It also helped that the city council had previously approved a city-wide bike rack style and was currently pushing a more bike-able city by redesigning Harbor Drive and implementing bike-friendly road changes. Because of those factors, the class decided they would raise money to help make the city promote their goals for a healthier community. According to Horvath, each bike rack can cost from $500 to $700.

Five bike racks were installed outside Catalina Coffee Company and the Mysterious Galaxy bookstore. Photo by Chelsea Sektnan

Five bike racks were installed outside Catalina Coffee Company and the Mysterious Galaxy bookstore. Photo by Chelsea Sektnan

Upon graduation, the group recruited more than 6,000 new members to the Blue Zones project, 1,500 more than their goal, and intend to install 50 bike racks around the city. So far they have raised the money for the 50 racks, but have only installed 26.

During the ribbon cutting ceremony, JoAnn Turk, director of marketing for the Redondo Beach Marina, congratulated the class on their success.

“This is the result of a lot of collaboration,” said Turk. “Everyone tossed in some money and that’s how you get things done.”

Councilmember Steve Diels, who showed up to the ceremony on a bike, also congratulated the class and announced an additional boon for the project.

“Cal Trans awarded us a $500,000 grant for a bike path that will go along harbor drive,” said Diels. “So now, because of your efforts, people will have a place to park their bikes.”

Because of their project, there are more bike racks around the city. The class was able to install four bike racks outside Captain Kidd’s, four more near the International Boardwalk Plaza, 10 at the South Bay Galleria, two at Neighborhood Grinds, and one at Independent Repair on Artesia. They have plans to install racks at Veterans Park, Anderson Park, Riviera Village and the Redondo Beach USD office.

“The project is something that could easily be carried on by a future class,” said Benton. “There’s so much you can do, it could just keep going and going…and ultimately I want people to remember our project for what it’s linked to, health and the Blue Zones project and improved bike-ability.”

Classes before them have done many projects around the city. Previously they have fundraised for and built the 9/11 memorial, added art benches to areas in Riviera Village, created the Path of History around the city, and a still ongoing project, designing and fundraising for the Veterans Park band shell. This year’s class expects to be finished fundraising, recruiting and installing the racks by mid-September.

“We’ve been everywhere and done a lot of good work and learned a lot in the process,” said Benton. “It has been a great experience.”

To learn more about the 2011 Leadership Redondo class and to donate to their project, visit advancevitality.com. ER

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