PICKENS — A three phase preliminary plan has been unveiled for the Pickens end of the Doodle Trail that is set to transform the former Pickens Railway site on the corner of Hampton Avenue and Railroad Street.
City officials along with Blake Sanders and Alta Planning have designed the area to not only feature park amenities but also to provide a safe connection to the city’s historic downtown area.
The first phase of the plan calls for extending the trail out to Hampton Avenue and “dressing up the property” in that area. Installing an informational kiosk, constructing a new restroom and adding green space are also included as well as providing pedestrian access to Railroad Street, something the area has lacked.
“I use this trail every weekend,” said Lanson Clearough of Pickens. “It’s a great trail, but I’m happy to hear that it isn’t ‘finished.’ Making this an ongoing project, that is, connecting it downtown and putting up bathrooms and stuff, it will only make it better.
“You get families out here with little kids,” continued Clearough. “Having a park area would be really nice. And kids love checking out those train cars — you see them climbing on them all the time. It’s nice they’ll be included in the design.”
In addition to the planned trailhead, the S.C. Department of Transportation will be installing pedestrian signals at the intersection of Hampton Avenue and Railroad and East Cedar Rock Street as soon as the first quarter 2016.
City Councilman Patrick Lark has been working with the Pickens County Career and Technology Center to build new Doodle bike racks for downtown.
Recently, Pickens City teamed up with the Pickens Revitalization Association to apply for grants from the Appalachian Regional Commission and SC Recreational Trails Program to help cover the costs of the new trailhead park.
According to city officials, the grants will enable construction to begin late this year to complete the first phase of the newly proposed park.
A third grant, EPA Brownfield Cleanup, was applied for by the city to remove asbestos and lead-based paint from the former railroad building on Railroad Street. The grant should substantially reduce the costs of demolition and removal of the buildings.
At a recent Pickens Rotary Club meeting, City Administrator Bruce Evilsizor called for the community and organizational leaders to write letters in support of the city for the application of the EPA grant.
“During the grant application process, the City received a great response from community support partners which is a very meaningful step of the grant application process and very important to the EPA grant decision makers,” read a City of Pickens release.
A full time-line for the removal of the buildings has not yet been determined.
Reach Kasie Strickland at 864-855-0355.