Florida’s 1st Educational Bike Park
The 2020 KCCI Community Catalyst team created Florida’s first educational bike park on a school campus at Sabal Palm Elementary, a Community Partnership School (SPECPS). KCCI collaborated with SPECPS and Leon County Schools to re-purpose underutilized places to create interactive spaces that promote bicycle learning experiences for children ages 4-11. This project is a public-private collaboration that was envisioned and created by the 13 volunteer KCCI 2020 Community Catalyst team members with support from Lowes, Lewis + Whitlock, Capital City Bank, Tallahassee Mountain Biking Association, First Baptist Church of Tallahassee, and Big Bend Habitat for Humanity. To see a video of the space in use that was created by CHS, click here.
“This outdoor, educational resource provides an equitable and healthy learning experience for our community’s younger population,” said Betsy Couch, KCCI’s Executive Director. “Placemaking often provides a social service, and by improving these underutilized school areas children are learning a life skill, which can provide recreation and transportation opportunities in the future while increasing their health, safety, and bicycling education.”
This educational space is a model for other school and a how do form can be downloaded by clicking this How -to Guide Graphic.
Cycling is a healthy activity for all ages and popular for Leon County residents and tourists. Yet, the Florida Department of Transportation listed Leon County as a top 25 High Priority County for Improved Bike/Pedestrian Safety. According to Sanford Children’s Health, annually in the U.S. about 100 children are killed and 254,000 are injured as a result of bicycle-related accidents.
“Our KCCI 2020 Community Catalyst team wanted to identify how to effectively make the community safer and provide a safe place for people to learn to ride their bikes,” said Bo Courtenay, a volunteer KCCI 2020 Community Catalyst. “One of our ideas was to create a unique, educational bicycle experience at Sabal Palm Elementary.”
The educational bike park includes three zones: a space that resembles real life-traffic and cycling situations, a more-advanced off-road experience, and a covered training area for younger students and for use on rainy or hot days. Educational signage in the main spaces emphasizes bicycling safety tips.
“Thanks to our community partners and the hard work of our team, we are able to bring this innovative idea to life. This park is a unique asset that will help our community teach bicycle safety beginning at the earliest of ages, provide valuable skills to our community’s children, and introduce bicycling as both a means of transportation and recreation. As Tallahassee grows as a bicycling community, we hope this park, along with additional future parks, serves as a resource addressing safety and wellness needs in a fun, inviting manner,” said Patrick O’Bryant, a volunteer 2020 KCCI Community Catalyst.
SPECPS was identified through community feedback as the school that would most benefit from an educational bike park of this caliber. SPECPS is a public Title 1 school, with more than 500 students that serves the 32304 zip code. The bike park initiative integrates with Sabal Palm’s strategy of being a community partnership school. This model follows a proven framework that removes barriers to learning – including safety issues, health and mental health challenges, poverty, and more – by bringing together high-quality academics, health care, counseling, support, mentoring and other integral services right on-site at the school.
“The collaboration between Sabal Palm Elementary and KCCI exemplifies what a Community Partnership School is all about – the community coming together to help elevate not only the students but also their families and neighbors,” said Anna-Kay W. Hutchison, Community Partnership School Director Sabal Palm Elementary School, A Community Partnership School. “KCCI along with incredible community partners here in Leon County, have completely transformed an empty lot into a safe and educational space giving kids and their families healthy opportunities to learn, play and find success.”
SPECPS adopted the innovative Community Partnership Schools™ model in 2019 with a partnership among Children’s Home Society of Florida, FAMU, FSU Primary Health and Leon County School District. Together, these core partners collaborate to address key barriers to learning, often bringing in additional community support and resources to best serve students.
“This bike park encourages SPECPS students to stay healthy, incorporate outside play, teaches valuable lessons for bike safety while also teaching them how to navigate and follow road safety rules,” said Anicia Robinson, Principal at Sabal Palm Elementary School, a Community Partnership School.
About Community Partnership Schools: Based on a highly successful initiative launched in New York City, the Community Partnership SchoolsTM model requires the core partners — the school district, a healthcare provider, a nonprofit organization and a college or university — to commit their support to the school and community for 25 years, impacting a generation. Children’s Home Society of Florida brought the model to Florida in 2011 in partnership with Orange County Public Schools and The University of Central Florida. Children’s Home Society of Florida is a core partner in 18 Community Partnership Schools – more than any other entity in the state. To learn more about Community Partnership Schools, read here.
About KCCI: Established in 2007, KCCI is a local organization committed to positive placemaking and community collaboration in Tallahassee. KCCI projects have generated nearly $1 Billion in economic impact for Leon County. A new group of volunteer Community Catalysts is selected to plan and implement each annual project. This year’s Community Catalysts are Theresa Bender, Bo Courtenay, Tarsha Davis, Chris Edwards, William Eichhoefer, Richard Fetchick, Suzannah Grasel, Eric Katz, Molly Lord, Patrick O’Bryant, Jamiron Richardson, Jessica Sorenson and Callie Watson. KCCI is made possible by public and private partners including: Knight Foundation Fund at the Community Foundation of North Florida, Archibald Foundation, Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare, Taproot, FAMU School of Business and Industry, Florida State University College of Business, NAI Talcor, Structure Real Estate, Nolia & Bill Brandt, Lewis + Whitlock, Wood + Partners, Brown & Brown, Blueprint, Office of Economic Vitality, BowStern Marketing, Serena and Jon Moyle, Cassidy and Company, Tharpe Construction, Flightline Group, Inc., Drs. Chaney, Couch and Associates Family Dentistry, Charlie Johnson and Rowland Publishing. For more information on KCCI or the Sabal Palm Bike Park, visit the KCCI website.