Spartanburg seeking multi-million dollar grant to expand walking trail


SPARTANBURG, SC (WSPA) – Coronavirus precautions may have slowed the economy, but Spartanburg County Council members are working to secure a federal grant to extend walking trails.

While plans are in the works to support a countywide trail network, plenty of community partners are coming together to qualify for the grant to make it happen. ​

Parts of the trail already goes through Spartanburg County, and the proposed expansion won’t raise taxes to complete it.

Igor and Julie Karpik walk the Mary Black Trail a few times a week, and they said it’s welcome exercise and fresh air.

“It’s biking or come out with the kids, dog park,” Igor Karpik said. “I think its a grat place to comeout here to walk the trail or go hang out.”

The trails span more than 30 miles through Spartanburg County and are usually filled with walkers, bikers and families.

“Trails are open because you can still keep distance and enjoy nature,” Laura Rinzo, with Partners for Active Living, said.

Partners for Active Living works to expand trails in the urban areas and work with the county to figure out the best spots for trails.

“It’s really important for people to be able to walk and bicycle for transportation for recreation to enjoy the community right now,” Rinzo said.

The Spartanburg County Council is behind the effort and are hoping to secure a $17.4 million grant for the expansion.

“A lot of folks put a lot of time and effort into supporting a trail system in Spartanburg, “Spartanburg County Council Chairman Manning Lynch said. “It’s the kind of amenity that will help Spartanburg County attract and retain the type of young talent that we need in our growing community.”

The plan would include two pedestrian bridges — one over Highway 295 and the other over Interstate 26.

Part of the trail will include Anderson Mill as a destination. The mill sits on 6.5 acres and will include an interactive kiosk and educational programs when it’s complete.

“We are doing our best to save some very special places like this and have places available for people to paddle on the waters, to hike in the woods and get back to nature,” Tiger River Foundation President Julian Hankinson said.

Spartanburg County Council is in the process of applying for the federal grant and despite the coronavirus, at last word the funding was still available.

Funding from this particular federal grant could go as high as $25 million depending on the project.

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