EASLEY — After months of sketching, planning and anticipation, the Doodle Park is officially open at the trail-head on Fleetwood Avenue.
“It’s an exciting time here in Pickens County, it’s an exciting time here in Easley,” said Pickens County Councilman Chris Bowers at the ribbon cutting ceremony held Saturday. “We’re (the County) just so glad that we could partner on this beautiful project with Baptist Hospital and The City of Easley so we can continue to make Pickens County the natural destination to live, work and play.”
Bowers said investments in our local communities — like the Doodle Park — represented the future.
“And the future is what this is all about,” he said.
Terry Garrison, who has spent the past 20 years on Easley Baptist’s Foundation Board, said it was his honor to have been serving as chairman last year when the foundation decided to support wellness in the area — including the park.
“The park is great,” he said. “We wanted a place where you could exercise some and have fun. The hospital’s foundation donated $50,000 to this project — and I’m proud of that.
Garrison said the railroad only came to Easley because someone “asked for it.”
“Easley is named for one of the founder’s that called for the railroad to be here,” he said. “It (the railroad) used to be called ‘Charlotte to Atlanta Airline Railroad, but I don’t know where the ‘Airline’ part came from. That was back in 1893 — a long time ago.”
Mayor Larry Bagwell said in addition to the money received from the hospital, the County provided the funds for the restoration of the two railroad cars and the Appalachian Regional Commission provided a $250,000 matching grant.
“Easley Combined Utilities furnished the water fountains out here and provided other functions, construction type things … moving lines and such,” said Bagwell. “It was a big plus.”
The Mayor also credited Alta Planning for their design of the park itself.
“Since then, we have hired the designer of this park (Blake Sanders) to be our (city) planner,” he said. “Blake’s been on board for about two months now and we’re happy to have him.”
Reach Kasie Strickland at 864-855-0355.