Bearings Bike Shop breaks ground on new project near Westside Beltline

For the last decade, Bearings Bike Shop has looked to teach kids life skills through its programs

For the last decade, Bearings Bike Shop has made it their mission to not only provide area kids with bikes, but also teach them life skills.

Since its inception in 2009, the shop has been located in a basement at 982 Murphy Ave. in Atlanta’s Adair Park. But earlier this month, the youth development organization broke ground on what will become their expanded headquarters at the property near the head of the Beltlines’s Westside Trail.

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The new 5,000-square-foot space will feature classroom space for Bearings’ programs. It will also include an update to exterior spaces around the new bike shop.

Over the course of a year, Bearings raised more than $2.3 million through a capital campaign to buy, renovate and expand the property on Murphy Avenue.

"This expansion would create a new, dynamic destination for youth empowerment on the Atlanta BeltLine's Westside Trail unlike anything in the city of Atlanta," a post on the nonprofit's website reads.

Bearings was founded by Tim and Becky O'Mara after they moved to the southwest Atlanta neighborhood. The couple started collecting bikes, refurbishing them and giving them to kids in the community who earned them through community service projects.

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As their efforts took off, they began teaching the kids how to fix up the bikes. Through each hour of learning mechanical skills in the shop, the kids earn a star, which can eventually be traded in for a bike of their own.

The nonprofit’s programs has grown to serve hundreds of kids on the city’s west side. Over the years, more than 600 kids have earned a bike through the program.

But, of course, it’s not just about the bikes. Bearings looks to teach kids soft skills as well.

“We work with young people to help them leverage their inner strengths, build self-confidence, gain valuable employability skills, capitalize on opportunities, and achieve their individual goals,” according to Bearings’ website. “Bearings empowers youth as they develop into successful leaders with purpose, character, and confidence.”

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Now, as they evolve into their new chapter, Bearings hopes to continue to “play a vital role” in the community.

Bearings worked with Square Feet Studio and Silverman Construction Program Management to design its new headquarters, according to its website.

In a statement, they said they intend for the new layout to “preserve the historical look and feel of the buildings.”

“The entire property is focused on strengthening Bearings Bike Shop’s ability to help young people develop the skills that propel them successfully into adulthood,” the statement reads.

The project is expected to be completed in summer 2020.