CLEMSON, SC (WSPA)–If you live in the Clemson area, get your bikes and walking shoes ready. A $200,000 grant awarded by the South Carolina General Assembly, will allow work to continue on the Green Crescent Trail System.
Phase one is a $600,000 project. According Chad Carson, one of the founding board members of the Friends of the Green Crescent Trail, said outside of the $200,000, the rest of the $600,000 project will be provided by the City of Clemson.
“I’m a community member. I live here in Clemson and I was just frustrated. I was trying to push my kids in a stroller to cross the street to go to a local park about a quarter mile from my house, and you’d almost get run over by trucks because there’s no good walking facilities, no good crosswalks,” Carson said. “So a group of us said hey, is anybody working on this. Can we try to make this better? Nobody was really working on it, so we just got together and started trying to figure out a way to replicate some of what we’ve seen with the Swamp Rabbit Trail and other trails.”
Carson and others in the community, have hit the ground running with construction that started earlier this year. They’ve been planning for the last five years.
Phase one starts in Clemson Park, as a quarter of a mile loop was started there. A quarter of a mile has also been installed near the Pedestrian Bridge on Berkley Drive. Carson said the city of Clemson also spent about $150,000 on the loop trail, and about $1.7 million on the bridge.
“This is a loop trail that we were able to build earlier this year with some grant money. This is going to kind of be the center of what’s going to be about a mile and a half or two of trail, that’s going to connect almost all the way to Clemson University, behind Gateway Park, alone Highway 93. And on the other side, it’s going to connect to a pedestrian bridge right by the Clemson Elementary School,” Carson said. ” And then the University has also actually agreed to this, so that you’ll be able to go from here to Clemson Park, and these neighborhoods around here, all the way to Clemson’s Campus. So this will be able to connect to the Botanical Gardens, that will be a hub of the green crescent trail as well where people can park there and walk around,” he said.
“The trail will be a 12′ wide cement greenway, a widened sidewalk, and an on-street neighborhood path depending on the section of trail,” Carson also said.
“It is right here. Very approachable. You get out of the houses, and you get on the trail and you take it and as long as it’s connected, you can come back to your point of origin,” said Vivek Sharma, Clemson resident. “We go to school using it, school wise everyday. And right now, we have a trail in our neighborhood which is also connected to this trail, and so now they’re all interconnected and you can get out and make a big circle and come back. I mean that’s a good workout for anybody.”
Organizers hope within the next 10 years, this will become a 25 mile trail, running through Central and Pendleton.
“Trying to make it a regional network. So, we’re talking to people in Anderson County, in Oconee County, so eventually, the big dream is that hey, we have trails here in Clemson and Central. There’s a Swamp Rabbit Trail. There’s the Doodle Trail. There’s Oconee and Anderson’s trails. This might be like a regional effort where people can come visit who live here. People can visit here and ride their bikes, walk around and they know the Upstate of South Carolina is a place to go and have outdoor recreation,” Carson said.
Carson also believes it will bring big dollars to the area.
“We’re a town that has tourism seven games a year. That’s a 100,000 people in town, but what about the rest of the year? Why do people come here and being outdoors moving, is a great way to get people here, both the residents staying here, but also people coming to visit,” Carson said. “So this trail system is also for that economic development and vitality of the small businesses in town.”
Sharma said he’s glad to have this trail is his backyard.
“Not only will this become a good template for other cities to follow, but I think it will also jump start some of the development side of this side,” Sharma said.
Carson believes this phase of the trail will be done in early 2022. He also said money has already been raised in the town of Central for phase one, but construction has not started. Overall, the group is looking for more funding for the massive project.