VIRGINIA — The City of Virginia has installed a new bike rack with a fix-it station outside the Virginia Public Library.

“One thing we want to do is make Virginia bike friendly,” explained Virginia Parks and Recreation Director Brian Silber Thursday morning. “We have a lot of residents using bikes year round and this number is only growing with the popularity of fat tire bikes.”

With the Mesabi Trail running through town, the library is a natural spot to take a break. Long distance bikers also often stop by the library to use the internet and update family about their travels.

Along with making the City more bike friendly, there is also a goal to reconstruct the front of the library.

In Aug. 2018, the City announced that the library had been awarded a Construction Grant, in the amount of $92,000 from the Minnesota Department of Education. The complete library improvements are estimated to cost $184,000 with the grant covering half. The other half of the costs are committed by the City. The project is expected to be completed in 2020.

Part of the grant funds were used toward the new bike rack and fix-it station.

“The City has a goal to redo the front of the library,” explained Reference Librarian Susan Hoppe on Tuesday. “When something about a bike rack came up I was asked what I thought. I said it should be something cute.”

When discussions began about a bike rack at the library, it was a natural yes for the various city offices.

“The idea was to have the bike rack as public art,” said Silber. The design chosen, looks like four bikes. “It is a neat one. When the sun hits it, it casts shadows that look like bikes. It is adding public art to the street scape and facilities. It is usable art.”

Along with the bike rack, a fix-it station was installed where a bike can be mounted and repaired. All the major tools are connected and, if a person has the needed parts, almost any repair can be done.

The fix-it station uses no electricity nor fluids and will be accessible year-round. Along with the mounting system and attached tools is a hand operated air pump attached for a quick top off for a tire.

“We hope to add more fix-it stations throughout the park system,” said Silber explaining the department’s plan for improvements on the Bailey’s Lake Trail in 2020.

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