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West Central Initiative recognized

West Central Initiative, a regional community foundation and planning organization that serves nine west-central Minnesota counties, including Douglas, has been recognized with a gold-level Bicycle Friendly Business certification by the League of American Bicyclists.

A national bicycling and advocacy organization of nearly 20,000 members, the bicycle league spotlights 1,314 businesses, government agencies and Fortune 500 companies that put a focus on health and wellness and an effort on transforming transportation.

WCI offers a shared staff bike, bicycle education for staff and partners, and technical assistance on bicycle issues to cities in the region. The agency also offers secure bicycling parking for both employees and guests.

"Much of the transportation planning that we do in the region focuses on bicycle and pedestrian issues, so we advocate for bicycling best practices all the time," said Wayne Hurley, WCI's director of planning. "In addition, we assist communities and businesses in our planning area with their Bicycle Friendly America applications to bring more awareness to bicycling and recognize the great things being done for people riding bikes throughout west-central Minnesota."

Anna Wasescha, West Central Initiative's president, says that the organization emphasizes social responsibility and environmental impact, as well as physical and mental health benefits.

"Leading by example is a great way to encourage others to become more bike friendly, which is why being recognized as a gold-level Bicycle Friendly Business is such a great honor for WCI," she said.