Civic Center gets "Bike Friendly" designation

The League of American Bicyclists has named the Columbus Civic Center a Silver Bicycle Friendly Business, making it one of only two entities in Georgia to earn the distinction this year.

The announcement was made Wednesday afternoon in the parking lot of the Civic Center, with numerous local leaders present.

Ross Horner, director of the Civic Center, said the distinction is one he has hoped the facility could earn for some time.

“So many times on a beautifull day like today, we see bicyclists coming by the Civic Center and South Commons and ride through South Commons,” Horner said. “We wanted to create an opportunity so that bicyclists could stop here. Not just for patrons, but for our employees to give them an opportunity to live a healthier lifestyle.”

The Civic Center currently offers covered bike parking, staff assisted bike repairs, free skate rentals, free popcorn at arena events, shower facilities, courtesy bike patrols, and will be adding more elements in the near future. Eventually, Horner wants to be able to offer access to a variety of free tools and technical assistance from the League to become even more bicycle-friendly.

“We want to make the Civic Center and South Commons a destination, not a ride-by destination, but somewhere people are going to want to stop, spend some time and understand that South Commons is a beautiful place to visit,” Horner said.

Mayor Teresa Tomlinson, who has long said one of her goals is to make Columbus a Silver Bicycle Friendly City, said the Civic Center’s designation is another step toward that goal.

“There is no Silver Bicycle Friendly City in the state of Georgia right now,” Tomlinson said. “It is our goal to make Columbus, Ga., the first Silver level Bicycle Friendly city in the state, and now we’re well on our way.”

The Civic Center becomes one of 950 entities in 46 states and Washington D.C. to earn the distinction from the League of American Biicyclists.

“Visionary business leaders are recognizing the real-time and long term impact that a culture of bicycling can create,” said Andy Clarke, president of the league. “We applaud this new round of businesses for investing in a more sustainable future for the country and a healthier future for their employees.”