GREENVILLE – The television and web cameras were shutdown during and following an executive session, but that didn’t stop Greenville City Council from conducting business after finishing its regular agenda items on Tuesday evening. Toward the end of their regular meeting, council went into executive session for the purpose of a conference with an attorney regarding threatening or pending litigation. The cameras stayed dark when council returned to open session and, without prior notice, voted unanimously to uninstall the bicycle racks on South Broadway in downtown Greenville.
Crysta Hutchinson, executive director of Main Street Greenville (MSG), admits she was blindsided by the decision. In fact, she did not learn of the city’s ruling until after the bicycle racks had been removed.
Councilman Tracy Tryon was emphatic that it was a safety issue and even heard reports of children receiving minor injuries from trying to sit on the racks. The rack is a replica of a bicycle and the seat is a thin piece of sheet metal. Tryon and Councilman Clarence Godwin reported Councilman John Hensley approached the manufacturer to ask if they had a fix. Godwin said, “They told him no, but if you come up with one, we’ll put it in our catalogue.”
Tryon admitted he was responsible for suggesting action needed to be taken quickly. “Once a potential safety issue is identified, how do you handle it?” he questioned. “Something’s got to be done and got to be done soon,” he said he told council.
The project was started a year earlier by Hutchinson’s predecessor, Amber Garrett, and was the result of a partnership between MSG, Wayne HealthCare, the Greyson James Steyer Fund and a crowd-sourcing campaign.
According to an Early Bird report from July of last year, approximately 50 people donated to the bicycle rack project. Garrett had called the project timely due to the work being done by the Darke County Park District to extend the bike path through downtown Greenville.
The bicycle racks were discussed during the debate over the installation of the Darke County Visitors Bureau and MSG kiosk and it was learned the city did not give its official approval to install the bike racks in the city’s right-of-way. However, city street department crews did the installation.
Both councilmen believe the racks will be reinstalled once a solution is found to the safety issue. Tryon couldn’t answer whether or not MSG would have to go through proper channels to get permission to install the racks in the city’s right-of-way. Godwin wasn’t sure, but added that he couldn’t see why they wouldn’t be put back up in the same way they were taken down.
PHOTO CAPTION: City street department are show installing the bicycle racks in downtown Greenville last July.