EASLEY/PICKENS — Work continues to progress on the Doodle Park trail-heads at both ends of the Doodle Trail connecting the cities of Pickens and Easley.
On the Pickens end, demolition has already begun of the old concrete buildings thanks to efforts to secure several grants to help pay for the park including an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Brownfield Clean-up Grant that was awarded to the City to remove the lead and asbestos materials from the buildings.
“The South Carolina Recreational Trails Program awarded the City funding to extend the trail from the parking lot to run parallel the rail depot to allow access to Highway 8 and to make a safer connection to the Downtown in addition to a new South Carolina historical marker,” said a city official. “The City is currently working with the SC Department of Transportation in creating additional wayfinding signage to direct users of the Doodle Trail to downtown.”
The South Carolina Department of Commerce also awarded Pickens funding through the Community Development Block Grant Program for the demolition the rail depot building, the cement pads and part of the wall along E. Cedar Rock Street.
In all, Pickens managed to land a total of $396,790 in award funding.
“To further leverage these significant awards, the City is applying for a 1 million dollar project through the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) Grant that will be used to create the new Pickens Doodle Park,” reads the city’s website. “By incorporating everything into a 1 million dollar project, the City is trying to leverage some of the current grant funds with the ARC grant which will provide a better end product at a lower cost to the City.”
Goals of the overall Pickens Doodle Park project include: providing outdoor recreation to residents and visitors; attracting tourism and stimulating the regional economy; attracting and retaining employers and new businesses as well as their employees. Park facilities will include a Pickens Rail Depot replica, open air Farmers Market structure, ADA compliant restrooms, ADA accessible ramp down to Railroad Street, ADA compliant playground equipment, outdoor exercise equipment and an informational kiosk just to name a few.
Just eight miles down the road in Easley, progress is “chugging” along as well.
The old rail cars were sand-blasted, painted and hoisted into position last month to serve as the new restroom facilities for the park. In addition, an air pump has been added to the trail for cyclists who find their tires running a little low.
Reach Kasie Strickland at 864-855-0355.