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Bike, Hop, Skip in Downtown

Downtown Springfield Inc., presenting sponsor Memorial Health System, Black Chamber of Commerce, and a bevy of health and fitness organizations are teaming up to bring Downtown Open Streets back for a third time. This FREE for the whole family encourages Springfield residents to use downtown streets in an exciting new way!  DSI is working to create a vibrant city that is healthier, happier, and more fun! This year Open Streets will be August 21st from 10am to 2pm, and will temporarily open streets to people and close them to cars. “People traffic” replaces car traffic and the streets become “paved parks” where people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds can improve their health!

There will be multiple free activities during the Open Streets event include riding bikes, scooter, etc. around the Y-Block and Governor’s Mansion. Visiting downtown business for lunch or shopping. Testing your skills at the all-ages bicycle course. Participate in a multitude of health and wellness activities, including a fitness event hosted by the Black Chamber of Commerce, as well as learn how to lead and live a healthy lifestyle in the Springfield community! Memorial Medical Center will also be providing education programs on topics such as stroke awareness, blood pressure checks, and weight loss and wellness cooking events. 

Other local partnerships that will be making this day spectacular are Springfield Bicycle Club, the YMCA, Central Baptist Church, Springfield Police Department, Springfield Running Center, Physiotherapy, Junior League, Bicycle Doctor, Divine Nine, the Phoenix Center, and the Illinois Historic Sites! Some activities will include a meet and greet, Operation Juicebox by the Springfield Police Department. A giveaway from our friends at the Springfield Running Club. A bike maintenance clinic presented by the Bicycle Doctor. The Phoenix Center will be providing information services as well as HIV and Hepatitis C testing. And the Illinois Historic Sites Walk, Hike, Bike history program! 

The Open Street concept first appeared in larger U.S. cities about 10 years ago. More than 80,000 people attended the Atlanta Streets Alive event in 2014. The New York Summer Streets event claims 250,000 attendees. The concept has now spread to smaller cities, including Missoula, Montana; Las Cruces, New Mexico; Fargo, North Dakota; Lincoln, Nebraska; and Edmond, Oklahoma. The streets closed will be those around what is referred to as the “Y Block”, consisting of Capitol Ave, 4th and 5th Streets. People can travel the loop on their bikes, skateboards, skates, by foot or otherwise and enjoy the activity hubs on the Y Block. The concept was first researched by a Leadership Springfield team in 2017, and several of the original team members led the DSI Open Streets committee. Local businesses benefit from the street closures as foot traffic downtown increases and brings people directly to their store fronts. Volunteers are also needed to help run this fun family event! If you are interested in helping out, reach out to Taylor Moore, DSI Project Coordinator at taylor@downtownspringfield.org

Follow the Open Streets Facebook event page for more information. Click here.

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