PARK CITY, Utah — Summertime was a lot more fun for many children living around Park City this year thanks to new program from the local chapter of Big Brother Big Sisters of Utah.
The organization partnered with the Park City Police Department and Storm Cycles, a local business, to provide free bikes to children in the program by fixing unclaimed lost-and-found bicycles.
"They're so happy when they get the bikes because they can use the trails, they can go to school, they can get together with friends, bike with friends and also bike with their big brothers and big sisters," said Marisol White, a program mentoring coordinator.
Organizers say the idea began when children in the program asked their mentors where they could find cheap bikes, and from there plans for making this happen started rolling.
Big Brother Big Sisters Manager Lacey Cole-Rae said she remembered that Park City Police Captain Phil Kirk, who sits on the their advisory board, had mentioned people turn in lost and unclaimed bikes.
Unclaimed bikes that are turned into the police station are often of relatively low value and in need to significant repair.
Utah does have a law requiring the police station to hold unclaimed items for 90 days, and police try to find the owners, but that can be difficult without a police report filed.
After the window ends, police donate the bikes to nonprofit organization, but not all are in condition to ride safely.
"There's a little bit of work involved in some of the bikes, but the good thing is for no cost to them and us, we're able to donate these unclaimed bikes that would either be destroyed or donated to another nonprofit," said Kirk.
Cole-Rae approached owner Lauri Bilawa for help, as she had donated to Big Brother Big Sisters fundraisers before. The business immediately said they were on board and willing to assist.
"Kids were so happy to see the bikes and try them on, and we also gave them some helmets," said White.
Once the repairs were made, Cole-Rae and her staff began matching bikes to the "little sisters and brothers" in a program she hopes will continue for a long time to come.