Studio B Art Gallery is proud to announce a $1,000 donation toward the Secret Valley Trail Feasibility Study toward the development of six-plus miles of the trail in Boyertown Borough, Colebrookdale Township, Douglass Township and possibly Amity Township, Berks County.
Studio B’s recent Secret Valley Bike Tour generated the funds toward the donation through the riders’ registration fees.
Susan Biebuyck, gallery director, fine artist, and coordinator of the bike tour, presented an $800 check recently to the Building a Better Boyertown board of directors. Yet, learning of a donation by WalMart, in the amount of $1,000, the studio’s directors decided to join the retail giant and offered an additional $200.
“It’s our David and Goliath story,” noted Jane Stahl, Director of Community Relations, but we’re collaborating, not fighting. When would the “little gallery that does” have the chance to perform at the same level as the retail mammoth? We couldn’t resist matching their effort!”
The bike tour was the culminating event in the gallery’s community project entitled “Wheels” supported by a grant from Berks County Community Foundation. The project included a fine art exhibit featuring all types of wheels, coupons for reduced or free rides on the Colebrookdale Railroad and Pottstown Carousel, free admission to the Museum of Historic Vehicles, a caricature by cartoon artist Alan MacBain, and wheel-related activities at Boyertown Community Library and the Boyertown Area Historical Society.
Biebuyck and her husband Gavin, owner and air quality management expert of Liberty Environmental, headquartered in Reading, are avid bicyclists and protectors of the environment who spent hundreds of hours designing three routes for riders of varying skill and endurance, coordinating volunteers, and stocking feed and hydration stations along the paths. Each rider was presented with a Secret Valley Bike tour water bottle and encouragement to continue supporting the Schuylkill River Trail feasibility study through additional donations.
“The Schuylkill River Trail is a favorite among hikers and bicyclist enthusiasts — once they hit the trail in Pottstown,” explained (Susan) Biebuyck. “It will be wonderful for cyclists to be able to ride a dedicated trail from the Boyertown area to Philadelphia. And I think that drivers will be happy they do not have to share the road!”
“Plus, think of all the traffic we could eliminate on 422 if enthusiasts like Gavin and me can bicycle our way to work in Oaks or King of Prussia, for example. Love your cyclists! Please!” she encouraged.
Biebuyck is also eager to promote the 4-foot law in Pennsylvania that requires drivers to give four feet of space to a bicyclist for safe traveling. The gallery’s front window during the recent “Wheels” exhibit promoted awareness of the law and the need.
“Once our “Wheels” art exhibit was hung, the gallery focused on the tour for the entire spring season, explained Biebuyck. “It was an incredible amount of work and stressful in creating routes that were beautiful and safe. The tour became the “La Tour Detour” as roadwork — construction and chipping and tarring — for example, created hazards every other day, rendering our planned routes impossible or dangerous. We were adjusting the routes until the evening the tour was scheduled to begin.”
The Family Fun Ride took bicyclists on a scenic ride for approximately 10 miles; the half-metric offered others 31 miles of biking through Berks County. Riders in the full metric logged 62 miles on country and urban roads.
Building a Better Boyertown and Boyertown Borough have been awarded a matching grant of $35,000 by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Campbell Thomas and Company in collaboration with Gilmore and Associates, Inc. are performing the $70,000 trail study.
For more information, visit Boyertownpa.org for updates on the upcoming planning meetings.
Studio B Art Gallery, located in the heart of historic Boyertown, is the home of the Arts and Activities Alliance, a committee of Building a Better Boyertown, a nonprofit Main Street program dedicated to revitalizing small towns.