A recent grant award will further Bike Walk Golden Isles’ mission in the community and allow the nonprofit to hire its first executive director.
The Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety awarded BWGI a grant for $54,225, which will support the nonprofit’s mission to improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists on local streets and sidewalks.
“The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety is working with all of our highway safety partners to reverse the increase in traffic deaths we have seen in the United States in the last two years, particularly among bikers and pedestrians,” said Allen Poole, director of GOHS. “The goal of this project is to prevent crashes and save lives on our roads.”
The grant will help finance education programs, safety campaigns, bike lights and more, said Van Black, chair of Bike Walk Golden Isles.
“We are grateful for the support of GOHS as it allows us to continue to expand the programs we’ve been offering, with the goal of improving safety for all people on the streets, sidewalks and trails of the Gold Coast area,” Black said. “Many people in Glynn, McIntosh and Camden counties depend on biking and walking for daily transportation and we want to make sure they can do so in a safe environment.”
Tavel Cowan will serve as BWGI’s new executive director, and she officially got started in the role this week.
Cowan, who moved to Glynn County in March, is an avid runner and cyclist.
“It was amazing that this opportunity exists that brought together my background along with my passion for activity,” she said in a phone interview last week, a day before she traveled to New York City to run for the first time in the New York City Marathon, the largest in the world.
“I’ve run my entire life,” she said.
This longtime passion helps Cowan recognize the importance of BWGI’s mission to improve safety and increase opportunities for walkers, runners and cyclists.
“It has potential to really make a difference in this area,” she said. “So many people are active here, and it’s such a beautiful area that if we could just make it a safer place to commute on your bicycle or to walk even just to get groceries I think more people will do it.”
In her new role, she will be responsible for the day-to-day activities that achieve BWGI’s overall goals.
These will include meeting the safety-related objectives of the recent grant award.
Cowan will organize safety events, coordinate traffic counts, communicate this work to the community and work to get more people involved in BWGI.
“There’s so much opportunity for growth,” she said.