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Emmaus Council Gives Theoretical Thumbs up to July Bike Race

Emmaus Main Street Partners needed Emmaus Borough Council to sign off on the idea of the July 8 race Tuesday night so it could move forward with PennDOT approvals.

Emmaus Borough Council approved at Tuesday night’s meeting “the concept” of a July 8 bike race through the borough being proposed by the Emmaus Main Street Partners.

In presenting the bike race to council for approval, Councilman Nathan Brown, who heads the borough’s Community Relations, Planning and Development committee, admitted that many of the details about the bike race have yet to be hashed out. However, he said that council needed to give the event a theoretical go ahead so that the event organizers could get moving on pulling the race together.

In particular, the road closures needed for the bicycle race, which will involve state roadways and therefore involve PennDOT, mean that the Emmaus Main Street Partners will need to allocate at least 60 days in its timetable to procure the necessary PennDOT approvals, according to borough manager Shane Pepe.

Before giving the idea of the bike race the nod, Councilman Brent Labenberg questioned whether the race will cost the borough anything.

Pepe said that the Emmaus Main Street Partners had been given a preliminary cost estimate of $20,000 by the borough. “That is something that we made very clear to them up front,” he said. “They indicated that they have some means of funding available and that they are seeking other funding."

Councilman Wesley Barrett wished the Emmaus Main Street Partners luck in its effort to make the race happen, addressing his comments to Emmaus Main Street Partners Board Member Gene Clock, who was in attendance at Tuesday’s council meeting.

“This is one of those things that is a great thing to have in town here,” Barrett said. “Sometimes, when you start working on these things, you find that you have an event that can last for years.

“I can also almost compare it to the (Halloween) 5K race. The first year it had its bumps and bruises, but they got worked out.

“I would hope that we do what we can to try to make (the bike race) happen. From what I have heard it will be something unique,” Barrett said.

Clock announced at council's Feb. 6 meeting that the Emmaus Main Street Partners would be working with the National Cycling Association to organize and host Emmaus' first Championship Cycling event. He said the race is expected to bring approximately 250 cyclists and 5,000 spectators to the borough.

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