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Bikes Belong awards grants

In its latest round, Bikes Belong awarded five grants worth US$40,000 to communities in Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Ohio, and South Carolina. The grant awards will help construct paths and parks that will encourage active commuting and recreational riding.

Greenville County Recreation District in South Carolina received $10,000 to develop the 10-mile Swamp Rabbit Trail, a multi-use path to create a safe and accessible route for cyclists between downtown Greenville and a trail system in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Funding will complement the Recreational Trails Program funds, a grant from Newman's Own, and individual donations as well as support from Hincapie Sports.

Raccoon River Valley Trail Association in the Des Moines, Iowa, metro area received $10,000 to help pave their namesake trail in west-central Iowa. The 33-mile loop will connect to 23 miles of existing trail spanning many counties—all of which have contributed funds to the project. RRVTA, which has been an active steward of this trail system trail since 1994, also secured a Vision Iowa Community Attraction and Tourism grant for the expansion project.

The Wamego Community Foundation in Kansas will use their $10,000 award to pave the Wam-Sag-Man Trail connecting the towns of Wamego, St. George, and Manhattan, as well as the local school, to 26 miles of existing multi-use path. The grant matches funding from the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks grant, joining a National Park Service Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance grant and local funding for the project.

The city of Lancaster, Ohio received $5,000 to build a 9.6-mile multi-use loop around the town to encourage bike commuting on the route that links two much longer pathways on either side of the city.

Finally, Mayville, Michigan will use $5,000 to build bike elements at their new BMX/Skate park. The facility is part of a community recreation plan that includes a pathway linking it to the bike-path network and areas schools. Tony Hawk Foundation and local dontions are contributing to project funding.

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Sue George is an editor at Cyclingnews.  She coordinates all of the site's mountain bike race coverage and assists with the road, 'cross and track coverage.