PICKENS- Obtaining $500,000 in grants for a bike park continues the City of Pickens’ focus on community improvement.
The Town Creek Park is a five-phase project in which nearly 100 acres of city land will be transformed into a recreational bicycling facility.
The master plan was completed in July of 2011, and was created by Ride Garden.
“The initial estimate to complete all five phases of the Town Creek Park master plan was $1.7 million and construction could commence in early 2013 and could take four to five years to complete,” said on-call city engineer John Darrohn.
Consisting of a simple network of trails and bridges, phase one is already in place and was completed by volunteers.
Phases two and three of the project will require extensive funding and a series of grants to complete.
The City of Pickens applied for, and was recently awarded a $100,000 grant from the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism, and a $400,000 federal grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission.
“This park is going to be an asset to our existing recreational facilities. We believe it is important to invest in green infrastructure that is family friendly for citizens, and a premier bike park in the upstate will attract visitors from all over,” said Pickens City Administrator Katherine Brackett.
Phase two will include a 10-12 ft. wide paved multi-use greenway trail, and will be handicap accessible. The trail portion of phase two will follow the old Appalachian Lumber Company Railroad Route.
Phase three will include the addition of sustainable natural biking trails, disc golf course, and a pump coaster track.
Although funding for the final two phases has not yet been secured, phases four and five will include bridges, a dog park, additional trails and parking, and a lodge.
“The city council is very interested in improving the quality of life for citizens. In addition to sewer projects and downtown sidewalk rehab, this project is a quality of life enhancement. This will give families something to do and a reason to bring their kids out and stay here on the weekends,” said Brackett.
City officials say they feel that similar projects across the upstate can serve as a guide.
“Trail based tourism is an integral component to a community’s enhancement and revitalization. The Swamp Rabbit Trail has provided a perfect example for success,” said Darrohn.