The city of Grand Rapids came up with the noble concept of providing snow sleds to children and families in a taxpayer-funded sharing program.
The problem was the sleds were “free” and ended up being stolen.
The Grand Rapids city parks and recreation department created three sled “libraries” at Richmond, Mulick and Plaster Creek Parks with the intent of having children use the free sleds and return them to the bin.
“We expected some to go missing, we expected some to get broken,” Sam Truby, the GR Outside Supervisor for Grand Rapids Parks and Recreation, told WZZM. Each location had 15 sleds.
“We restocked each station a couple of times, added another five or seven sleds, and eventually they were just fully depleted, and we were out of sleds,” Truby said.
Truby told WZZM they will no longer stock the libraries and will leave them empty, hoping the sleds will be returned, or residents will stock the locations themselves.
Now, the city is launching a program to share electric vehicles at a low cost.
The Grand Rapids City Commission is spending $500,000 to create a three-year pilot car-sharing program, according to WOOD TV.
The concept allows residents to “rent” one of six electric vehicles for $5 per hour and an extra 40 cents per mile over 150 miles. The driver pays $50 to reserve a vehicle for 24 hours. It must be returned within a day.
“We want to make sure these vehicles are available for multiple users to use, not necessarily somebody making it their permanent vehicle in a way,” Ariana Jeske, the assistant director of Mobile GR, said.
The city will also be spending $220,000 to install four charging stations to accommodate the new vehicles. Six cars will be assigned to public lots around the city in areas with “low vehicle ownership and low-to-moderate income,” according to Jeske.
The city hopes to expand to 12 vehicles in about a year and intends to had it off to a non-profit, even though the cars will be owned by Mobility Development, the city’s vendor.
It’s not clear if the city reflected on what went wrong with the sled sharing program to avoid the same problems with the vehicle project.