After raising $320,000, the nonprofit is gearing up to keep even more of the city’s youths involved.

By Gillian Graham Staff Writer

Andrew Burnell works on a bike at the Community Bicycle Center on Hill Street in BiddefordBIDDEFORD — Students and volunteers were just starting to trickle into the Community Bicycle Center to work on their bikes after school, but already the workshop felt cramped.

With four bikes on racks and kids and volunteers moving back and forth to pick out tools, there was little room for Andy Greif to thread his way through the room.

“We’ve got so much jammed into this small space,” said Greif, executive director of the nonprofit drop-in workshop for Biddeford area youths. “We’re always in each other’s space.”

That problem is about to be eliminated as the unusual and popular program moves from a donated workshop to a building with four times as much space to work on and store bicycles and six acres adjacent to a large city park – lots of room for kids to ride. This week Greif expects to complete the purchase of the 4,200-square-foot building at 45 Granite St. for $249,900.

Andy Greif, executive director of the Community Bicycle Center in BiddefordFor the past eight years, the Community Bicycle Center has operated out of a 1,125-square-foot city-owned garage space on Hill Street. But as more kids find their way into the center and as its staff expands programming, the need for more space has become more pronounced.

“Sometimes you have to suck in your gut to let people by,” Cameron Roy, 12, said of a narrow hallway lined on one side with a workbench and on the other with hooks for jackets and backpacks.

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