We were honored to be asked to comment on this story of expanding the Swamp Rabbit Trail. We are so fortunate to live in a community where our public officials truly get it and know a good thing when they see it. Greenville County Council and Greenville City Council our hats go off to you for your support of this bike/recreation trail that has had and will continue to have a huge impact on our community and visitors to our area. Thank you!
GREENVILLE COUNTY, S.C. —Greenville and Greenville County are one step closer to building some bridges.
Greenville City Council voted unanimously to help pay for the construction of the Greenlink Greenway. Not only will it make the trail longer, supporters say it will connect communities like never before.
The city will invest $2.5 million in the expansion. The project will connect Cleveland Park and Clemson University's International Center for Automotive Research, and it will run parallel to Laurens Road.
As part of the deal, Greenville County will build pedestrian bridges on Laurens Road, Haywood Road and Verdae Boulevard. The bridges would connect to the Swamp Rabbit Trail.
"We're talking about people who need this form of transportation, need this form of recreation, and to have them cross a busy five-lane road or a busy four-lane road like Haywood Road is just not safe and it's not enjoyable. It doesn't invite people to get out and be active,” said Ty Houck with Greenville County Parks and Recreation.
Wendy Lynam, owner of the Swamp Rabbit Inn on Logan Street is also excited for the project.
She said extending the trail will bring even more opportunities, not just for businesses but the community as a whole.
"It gives them a new mode of transportation and connecting with the rest of the city in a healthy way on two feet or two wheels,” said Lynam.
Houck said the numbers speak for themselves.
A Swamp Rabbit Trail impact study conducted by Furman and Clemson universities showed more than half a million people used the trail in 2013. The trail also generated $6.5 million in tourism money.
“You've seen the business investment, you've seen areas in parts of the community that until the trail was there a lot of people didn't even know that part of the community existed,” said Houck.
The county still needs to secure about $3.5 million in funding before it can break ground on the project.