[MCN] free cycles music today: Local Yokels and Holy Smokes, 6:30pm

Bob Giordano mist at strans.org
Fri Sep 9 10:18:25 EDT 2016

Today (Friday, 9-9), into the evening, visit free cycles for some music,
food & beverage, social time and fun-bike riding (our fleet will be
waiting for you).  Families and kids encouraged to come!

6:30-8pm: Holy Smokes & The Godforsaken Rollers (starting a national tour)
playing outside the in the free cycles piazza

8-10pm: Local Yokels, a Missoula favorite! playing on the main stage

Free, donations welcome..

Bob Giordano, Free Cycles Missoula, 732 S. 1st St. West, mist at strans.org
406.541.7284, www.freecycles.org

Here is the latest on our campaign to buy our home, as outlined in a
Missoulian article. More info on the campaign coming soon- and we could
use some help from folks with expertise in this field.  thanks!

A Missoula nonprofit community bicycle shop's campaign to purchase the
property it's been renting isn't over yet.

"In essence, we have to come up with that extra $80,000 and a guarantor by
Nov. 11 as the absolute deadline," said Bob Giordano, executive director
of Free Cycles.

Through crowdfunding, extensive community outreach and old-fashioned
fundraising, they raised $385,000 by a deadline of July 1. The sum could
act as a healthy down payment for a bank loan on the $1.1 million property
on South First Street West.

An environmental assessment that found some contamination on an unused
portion of the site dissuaded the guarantor of its bank loan just before
its deadline, Giordano said. That, along with other withdrawn donations,
totaled $80,000.

With only 48 hours left, Free Cycles, the Bank of Montana and businessman
David Bell generated a creative solution in which Bell essentially acts a
temporary guarantor.

Free Cycles leveraged $200,000 from the campaign to create Cool Corner, a
limited liability company overseen by Bell, president and CEO of ALPS
Corp., a Montana-based company that provides lawyers' malpractice

Cool Corner, working with the Bank of Montana, then purchased the property
as a stopgap.

Bell said it's "a vehicle to provide Bob and Free Cycles a 90-day bridge,
because they were so close when they ultimately ran out of time."

Before an absolute deadline of Nov. 11, Giordano needs to find a new
guarantor, or multiple smaller guarantors, and raise the extra money. If
he meets that goal, he has an agreement with Cool Corner to buy the
company and the property at the pre-arranged price and Bell will step
aside entirely.

Bell said he became involved because he admires the group's work.

"I love the mission," Bell said. "It reflects what makes the soul of the
Missoula community."

He cautioned that the solution is only temporary one. "This is not a
victory," he said.

If the goals aren't met, the property could be resold. Bell said the site
was the subject of multiple counter-offers that exceeded the price owner
Tom Hightower had agreed upon for Free Cycles before the deadline expired.

If Giordano succeeds, rent from the other tenants on the 2-acre property
would cover Free Cycle's mortgage payments.

For his part, Giordano said they're "still on the viable path toward

"Free Cycles is so grateful, so thankful for all the support so far, and
we're going to need a little bit more as we go forward," he said.


During the campaign to buy the property, the nonprofit and the City of
Missoula commissioned an environmental assessment through the
Environmental Protection Agency's Brownfields program.

The report, released at the beginning of July, found contamination from
former gas plant operations dating back to the early 1900s through the
late 1950s.

Girodano said the guarantor to co-sign on the bank loan had concerns about
potential liability for the clean-up. Facing deadlines for other financial
commitments, the guarantor withdrew. (He said the guarantor preferred to
remain anonymous.)

The contamination consists of residue from gas manufacturing in a trench
about 22 to 35 feet deep on the north end of the property where there are
no structures or plans for construction, Giordano said.

"It's not on the surface and no one is coming into contact with it, and it
should be as simple as digging it up and hauling it away and going through
the normal procedures and filling it in with some clean soil," Giordano

Free Cycles consulted with an environmental attorney Tim Bechtold, who
said that NorthWestern Energy is liable for the clean-up. Under state law,
he said whoever is responsible for the contamination is responsible for
the mediation, including "corporate ancestors."

The gas manufacturing company likely changed owners several times before
being purchased by Montana Power Co., some of whose operations were sold
to NorthWestern, while the land at some point was sold to a private owner.

Giordano said preliminary discussions with the utility have been positive.

Butch Larcombe, spokesman for NorthWestern, said "we are at this point
acting as if we have some responsibility here." He could not say if the
utility will accept full liability but it is "working to find a good

At the turn of the century, plants used coal or oil to manufacture gas
that was distributed through a network of pipes for street lights, among
other uses. It was separate from the current natural gas system.

By the time Bechtold made his assessment, the guarantor had made other


Free Cycles, which is technically a program of the Missoula Institute for
Sustainable Transportation, formed 20 years ago.

It provides an open shop for people to learn how to maintain bikes and
build bikes for little to no cost.

In addition, it offers classes on bicycling, bike laws and more, and
estimates that 200,000 people have used its services over the years.

If it's able to purchase its current home, Giordano envisions expanded
services like a bike fabrication center for people with limited mobility,
bike-share programs, and a health-oriented transportation learning center.

They've maintained that the address in the city center, with easy access
to the trail system, is the best location for its shop.

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