Kevin L. Hoover
Mad River Union
ARCATA – The information kiosk at Co-op that helped so many Arcata folk secure housing, find their lost cat, sell a meteorite and even fall in love will soon be no more. The plucky little glorified 3x5 card holder at the eastern edge of the store's parking lot is to be razed to make way for a Zagster bike sharing station.
Demolition work begins Friday, July 1, according to Laurie Talbert, Co-op director of Marketing & Membership. It will take several days to completely remove the iconic kiosk.
The once-vital kiosk has been in decline for years, it's mission fatally undermined by the Internet and Craigslist. "There have been very few postings in recent years," Talbert said. One recent submission involved a request for an English tutor, but the days when the kiosk was the go-to place to hook up with rented rooms and rides is long gone.
Notices alerting kioskgoers of the impending halt of the little hut's services went up a month or so ago, with a sign announcing its demise and replacement posted about a week-and-a-half ago.
Though almost everything at Co-op seems to stir some kind of controversy, this didn't. "We have heard no pushback about removing it," Talbert said.
The kiosk will live on – in pieces. The materials of which it is composed will find creative re-use in various ways. One hunk of wood will be used for a woody backdrop to photos, and other bits will be used elsewhere.
"We're actually kind of excited about what we can do with them," Talbert said. "We have a very creative, hands-on group in our maintenance department who have ideas for putting those materials to good use."
Humboldt State University already hosts several Zagster bike stations. The non-electric "townie" style bikes are rented via use of a smartphone app, with a $2 hourly fee.
While it's not clear when Co-op's will be installed, two are going in on the Plaza. Installation of one at Ninth and G streets began this Thursday. Another, located by Café Brio, will go in sometime in coming weeks. Another bike station will be installed at the Intermodal Transit Facility within a week, with another in Northtown soon to follow.
Revolution Bikes is assisting with installation of the stations and maintenance of the bikes. It presently handles maintenance for the Humboldt State stations.
Sean Tetrault of Revolution Bikes said installation of the Plaza stations is to begin Thursday. Though spearheading the bold new era of app-driven bike rentals, he said he was "a little sad" to see the Arcata institution that has been the Co-op info kiosk see its end.