Springfield is this year's host for the Miami Valley Cycling Summit. The Summit is designed to help both large and small communities learn how to use cycling to drive economic development.
Organizers for this year's event have come up with the theme Cycling Connects. A panel of experts will detail how communities can benefit economically and connect with other cities in the region and around the nation to develop a profitable biking agenda.
Director of the Greater Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau, Chris Schutte, believes Springfield can learn a lot from other cities attending the event about how to become a more cycling-friendly community.
"How do we benchmark against communities where cycling has become not just rec. But You look at some of these cities and they will have dedicated bike lanes everywhere. It give you a feel that they're maybe a little more sophisticated. That they're a little bit more green friendly. It's literally almost all perception, but it does give you a perception as you look at a community a little bit of what their core values are about," Schutte said.
Schutte says that Springfield does have the potential to be a force on the cycling circuit.
"We have not even yet scratched the service here. I think on a yearly basis we get 5,000 or more riders into Springfield from one direction or the other via the bike trails. That could be you know a literal drop in the bucket. If we get the rest of our trail system connected on the southern end of downtown and we can start to raise the perception of Springfield as a bike hub, that 5,000 number could quadruple. And then you really have something that starts to make some serious economic impact to the tune of $3 or $4 million at that point," Schutte said.
Officials predict this year's event will bring nearly 400 people to the Hollenbeck Bayley Conference Center on May 31.