Several groups have come together to beautify the intersection of East 19th and French Streets in the City of Erie. The project will incorporate art, tree planting, and biking.

Part of the project is a plan to create a metal sculpture to be erected at the intersection. It will be in the shape of a sphere and will be made entirely of bicycle rims. The work has already started but the artists need more bicycle rims.  They are asking for donations.  Steve Mik is one of the artists working on the sculpture.

"Our finished goal is to make a 12 foot sphere out of recycled bicycle rims.  So, it took us about 17 or 20 to make a 12 foot circle.  That's when we started asking for donations,” he said.

The artists believe they might need up to 150 more bicycle wheels to complete the sculpture.  They want to unveil the new work of art on September 1.

"This month is crunch time for us.  We're going to be working a few days a week until it's done,” says Mik.

The sculpture has a bike theme for a reason. The city plans to use the East 19th Street corridor as a major bicycle route extending from Cherry Street on the west side to the Bayfront Connector on the east side.

"It isn't just this recreational thing,” says Eric Brozell of Sisters of St. Joseph and BikeErie.   “It's in a neighborhood that a lot of people could not afford to have a car. It’s something that all people, young and old, can get to get groceries, shopping of all sorts, to get to school, recreation and restaurants, businesses."

The bike route is expected to be a major part of Erie's Central City so a mini beautification effort is also part of the project.  Trees will be planted soon at the 19th and French Street intersection.  The artists cannot wait to see the results.

Members of the public can donate bicycle rims for the project by contacting the Sisters of Saint Joseph Neighborhood Network at their headquarters on East 26th Street. The phone number is 814-454-7814.

The groups involved with the project include Erie Arts & Culture, BikeErie, Sisters of St. Joseph, ReLeaf, and The City of Erie.