NORFOLK, NE – Ten bike racks designed by students at Northeast Community College are bringing some vibrant color and character to various locations across Norfolk.
In 2016, Joe Ferguson, North Fork Riverfront Development Committee member, and Kim Kwapnioski, former executive director of the Norfolk Area Visitors Bureau, approached Phil Schimonitz, Northeast graphic design instructor, to request his students create potential designs for the project.
“One of the reasons I liked bringing the project into the class was the idea of civic responsibility and giving back to the community,” Schimonitz said. “It gave students the chance to grapple with practical, pragmatic considerations. How do you store a bike? What does a bike rack represent? And how best do we serve the user? It’s not only for those who ride bikes, but it’s for the entire city of Norfolk.”
The North Fork Riverfront Development Committee and Downtown (Norfolk) Vehicle Parking District made the final selection, a design that resembles a large bike, with each rack a different color. Ferguson then approached the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD) board of directors to secure funding. The board agreed to fund half the project, while matching funds were provided by Dan and Connie Geary; the Riverfront Development Committee; Bev and Joe Ferguson; and Target. Norfolk Specialties manufactured the bike racks using a student-built template.
Tracy Jeffrey, executive director of the Norfolk Area Visitors Bureau, said the new racks represent an evolving landscape as Norfolk becomes a more “bicycle-friendly” community.
“As miles of trails continue to be developed, these new bike racks complement the ongoing efforts to make Norfolk more welcoming to bicyclists. They also create a great opportunity to incorporate public art into a practical project that will be useful to all.”
Jeffrey thanked Schimonitz and his students, the LENRD board and all of the sponsors for their support.
“We are grateful to these civic-minded individuals and organizations for their encouragement in the development of this project. These attractive bike racks will serve as another step to encourage more people to commute on two-wheels across our community.”
Ferguson and Schimonitz revealed the completed bike racks to the public at this fall’s Norfolk Oktoberfest Family Festival in downtown Norfolk.
The bike racks are located at the corner of 7th Street and Norfolk Avenue; the Johnny Carson mural (forthcoming); the parking lot near Leon in downtown Norfolk; Johnson Park, where two are located; the southwest corner of the Cowboy Trail; the Cowboy Trail shelter; Ta-Ha-Zouka Park; the Sunset Plaza Mall; and the corner of 1st Street and Norfolk Avenue.
Northeast graphic design students who submitted designs include Taylor Friedrich, Newman Grove; Victoria Novak, Holdrege; Macy Petersen, Columbus; Tyler Reardon, St. Edward; Shawna Schaecher, Battle Creek; Angel See, Oakdale; and Gene Weible, Hoskins.
A new bike rack is shown in a downtown Norfolk parking lot recently. Designed by Northeast Community College graphic design students, the rack is one of ten that was placed throughout the city of Norfolk as part of a project funded by the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD), with matching funds provided by Dan and Connie Geary; the Riverfront Development Committee; Bev and Joe Ferguson; and Target.