The old brick building was home to John Wilson Sporting Goods for decades before it closed in the early 1990s. The City of Iowa City purchased the building sometime in the 1990s with the long-term plan of redeveloping the property. The building is rough with a leaky roof and soft brick, but it is a great location and it has a lot of character. If fact, I’d say much of the success of the Bike Library can be attributed to our great retail location.
Well, this summer we will be moving out of this building. We knew going in that our time here would be short-lived. Honestly, we never dreamed we’d be here this long. The City is about to release a request for proposals to redevelop this property (and a couple of other contiguous lots). So, it looks like we’ll be moving this summer. We have found a new space and it is great – bigger with a high ceiling, and the owner is wonderful and generous! There is even talk by one of the potential developers of the old property to include space in the new building for the Bike Library.
And while I’m happy about the potential of the new opportunities, I can’t help feeling a little mournful about losing this old building. I took our old dog Sally out for a walk this morning (this will probably be Sally’s last summer too… she has an inoperable tumor on her snout) and decided to take a few pictures of the space.
Of course I know the Bike Library is really about the great volunteers – their commitment to the mission and the community they have created. But I will miss this old building. I’ll miss the damp, musty smell. I’ll miss the people lined up on Saturday mornings waiting for a chance to check out a bike. I’ll even miss the leaky roof and the squirrels crawling around in the attic. Yeah, I’m going to miss this place.
“Old ideas can sometimes use new buildings. New ideas must use old buildings.”