Meeting Summary, September 2, 2021
Attending: Clark, Hultgren, Palmer, O’Keefe, Hankins, Waldburger, Taylor, Serazo (Eastern Highlands Health District), Jones (UConn NatureRx)
The meeting began at 7:00 pm and introductions were made. The last meeting in November of 2019 was sparsely attended and informal, so no minutes/notes were approved.
Cynthia Jones, from UConn’s College of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology gave a short presentation on the NatureRx program that she was coordinating on the Storrs campus. She said that there are about 30 Universities and Colleges now participating in this program which advocates for outdoor (contact with nature) activities for students for mental health. Their website (https://naturerx.initiative.uconn.edu/) has complete information and resources on it including mapping files shared with them by Bike Mansfield. She hoped that Bike Mansfield would coordinate with and support NatureRx as appropriate.
Coryn Clark gave an update on the UConn Bicycle Friendly University Working group’s activities. She said that UConn has written an RFP for a consultant to do a Bicycle Master Plan for the UConn campus but that it may not be underway/funded until the Fall of 2022. She is advocating for the working group’s input into this planning effort as well as coordination with Bike Mansfield and the Town of Mansfield. She said that the working group has been meeting virtually for the past 18 months or so, but the UConn Transportation Advisory Board, which she has been asked to coordinate with, hasn’t met at all during the last year. She also related the results of the survey the working group did amongst cyclists on the campus noting that safety, security and parking remained concerns/barriers to cyclists. UConn’s Sustainability Office has maps and other related bicycle information/resources on their website (including the Recreation Department’s many cycling activities) and the recent GIS mapping done for bike parking on campus is shown on the Transportation and Parking website (which is or will be linked).
Hultgren distributed copies of the “test printed” 13×19” folding map of Town bike routes and points of interest and asked members to get corrections to him by September 20th so that an additional small quantity (100) of maps could be printed for limited distribution at and around the time of the Mansfield Celebration on October 2nd. Several suggested edits were made at the meeting, including showing Discovery Drive as a yellow “other popular bike route”. He also said that the Mansfield Downtown Partnership had received a grant for 18 additional bike racks in Town and that 13 had been installed by the DPW in the Downtown area, with the 5 remaining at Town parks/facilities yet to be installed.
With Bike Mansfield registered for a booth/table at the October 2nd Town Square event, Hultgren, Palmer, Weinland & Clark said they would help staff the booth. It was agreed to offer another brief “bicycle facts” quiz for people who stop in at the booth, with each person taking the quiz getting his/her name entered in a late afternoon drawing (5:30pm that day) for a $25 gift certificate to Storrs Center Cycle.
Hultgren reported that Shawn Santasiere would be replaced by Coryn Clark on the Bike Mansfield Board of Directors and an official Board of Directors meeting would be scheduled soon to complete this in accordance with the bylaws. Clark was congratulated, and it was decided to give Santasiere a thank you letter and gift certificate to Storrs Center Cycle for his service on the Board, which included the initial organizing of Bike Mansfield.
Hultgren reported on the “train the trainer” workshop that was held for Mansfield’s 4th grade PE teachers (and other advocates) at Southeast School in late June. The program was funded by a grant from the Capital Region Council of Governments (CRCOG) and conducted by BikeWalkCT. Negotiations are now underway to have BikeWalkCT actually implement the program for Mansfield 4th grade students in the coming year(s). The cost of this program (which includes the bicycles and instructors) has not yet been finalized by BikeWalkCT, but a portion of its cost could be covered by the $1,000 grant Bike Mansfield received in 2019 from the Lions Club for bike education in the Mansfield schools.
Hultgren also reported that the 4-year renewal of the Town’s Bicycle Friendly Community designation (due in the Fall of 2021) had been extended by the League of American Bicyclists to the Fall of 2022 because of the pandemic. He said that as soon as he finishes working with the Town DPW to update the draft Bike and Pedestrian Master Plan (written in 2017), Bike Mansfield’s help assembling the renewal application will be needed – most likely beginning in October or November of this year.
As time was running short on our self-imposed one hour meeting time limit, members were asked to think about approaches to resume Bike Mansfield individual and business membership efforts, since there were no memberships renewed in 2020 – for discussion at the next meeting(s).
The meeting adjourned at 8:02pm.
Lon Hultgren, Secretary Treasurer