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Cycling summit to bring hundreds to city

Springfield lands event that will focus on ways cycling touches tourism, development, more.

The Miami Valley Cycling Summit, a one-day conference designed to educate people about cycling, could bring as many as 400 cyclists downtown on Friday.

The conference, held at the Hollenback Bayley Conference Center and the Courtyard by Marriott, 100 S. Fountain Ave., will feature speakers from all over the country, including Bill Nesper, the vice president of the League of American Bicyclists.

The event is free and open to the public. As of early last week, approximately 300 people had registered for the event. They’re expecting about 100 more, according to event organizer Louis Agresta.

“It’s an awesome regional effort,” Agresta said. “It’s been a great example of multiple government entities coming together for a common good.”

The event will be held from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and will feature multiple sessions discussing topics including economic development and tourism, infrastructure and engineering, advocacy and community and culture.

The summit was held in Dayton in both 2009 and 2011. Organizers believed the event should be moved outside of Dayton, and Agresta believed Springfield would be a good location with the creation of Clark State’s new conference facility.

“The committee wanted to make it a regional event,” Agresta said.

Agresta said the committee has raised approximately $19,000 for the event, as well as over $10,000 in in-kind contributions. As part of the conference, the Springfield Legacy Project will take funds left over from the event to be used as part of a cycling project for the community. The project will be discussed at the end of the summit.

“It’s a way to reward the host committee and not let the summit be forgotten,” Agresta said.

The city, county and the Center City Association have partnered to add inverted U-shaped bike racks to the downtown. Twelve bike racks will have been installed before the event at various locations, including City Hall, the Clark County Courthouse, the Esplanade and Seasons Bistro.

“I think it’s important for the downtown as we continue to promote multi-modal transportation, to provide the amenities to the facilities for cyclists and pedestrians,” said Bryan Heck, the city’s planning and zoning administrator.

The summit brought the lack of bike racks downtown to the forefront, Agresta said.

“It was the catalyst,” Agresta said.

A VIP social event will be held on Thursday evening to allow regional elected officials — many of whom may not be able to attend on Friday — to talk about how cycling has affected their community, according to Leslie McDermott, the assistant to the city manager.

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