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Quality of Life's 1st Bike Rack: Care Help

Published Monday, February 1, 2021

The Quality of Life Task Force of the SWLA Economic Development Alliance is distributing bike racks in high cyclist areas in our region. The first round of bike racks was greatly delayed by Covid-19 and then the dual storms of 2020. The first three racks of ten are now out in the community with the remaining seven to be put out by the end of the year. 

The first rack in Sulphur was placed at Care Help located at 200 North Huntington Street. Care Help assists families in need with food, household items, bills, and more. Visit care-help.org for more information and to find out how you can help. Pictured: Rupert Araiza with SWLAHEC, Jody Farnum, Executive Director of Care Help of Sulphur, and Amanda White, VP, The SWLA Economic Development Alliance over the Quality of Life Task Forces. 

This bike rack is really a blessing to Care Help. It will be used by people who ride bikes in our community. Care Help has one of the largest food pantry and assistance offices on the West side of the river. We assist a lot of people with bikes, with transportation, with food, with rent, and so on. A lot of the money comes from our Thrift Store,” said Jody Farnum with Care Help. 

“We are very mindful that our region is – like most of our nation – very car centric and we wanted to make it safer and easier for people who ride bikes as their main means of transit. Our projects are all geared towards making our regional more livable for Southwest Louisianians and to make it more attractive to people looking to relocated. The Quality of Life Task Force usually works on one or two projects a year and with the setbacks from last year, we are so happy that these are finally making their way out into the community. To date, our group raised money and helped design the downtown Lake Charles Dog Park – Bark du Lac, as well as a Better Block project.” – Jessica Duhon, Quality of Life (QoL) volunteer and Chair of the QoL: Healthy Lifestyles Task Force 

The bike rack project was a collaboration between the SWLA Economic Development Alliance Foundation, SOWELA Community Technology College, Louisiana Healthy Communities Coalition & Polaris Engineering with assistance from SWLAHEC. 

  • The racks were purchased by the Louisiana Healthy Communities Coalition.
  • The pelican end caps were designed by Erik Jessen, Graphic Art Instructor at SOWELA.
  • The metal pelicans were created by Polaris Engineering who paid for the materials and used their equipment to manufacture the pelicans.
  • The end caps were welded by Jonathan Darbonne, Welding Instructor at SOWELA
  • The racks were then assembled and painted locally by Lake Area Equipment
  • Delivery was handled by local delivery experts Gophr, which provides local shopping online and delivery for items large and small. From everyday retail items to industrial equipment, Gophr delivers solutions. 

"SWLAHEC's Partnership for a Healthier Southwest Louisiana is happy to have a role in helping these beautiful bike racks make it to our region. Biking is a viable and healthy mode of transportation that promotes a healthy lifestyle. These bike racks offer function as well as beauty and will be an asset to our community. We sincerely look forward to seeing these bike racks throughout the metropolitan area." – Rupert Araiza, Directory of Community Health at SWLAHEC. 

The next round of bike racks to be placed around the area and to expanded parts of our region is dependent on donations made to our Quality of Life fund at the Community Foundation of Southwest Louisiana. This fund is also set aside for public art and other projects that can bring our community together. Donations – no matter how small – help fund projects like the Downtown Dog Park which was one of the first projects of the Quality of Life Task Force. Donations can be made day or night at https://www.foundationswla.org/life-fund.

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