EASLEY—A unanimous vote to approve the purchase of a stretch of railroad between Easley and Pickens is just the beginning, according to City of Easley officials.
In collaboration with the City of Pickens, Easley voted in favor of the 50/50 purchase that will begin an effort to turn the eight and a half mile stretch of railway into a recreational trail.
After Monday evenings vote, both cities, which contributed $250,000 each to the project, will close 30 days after paperwork is filed with the Surface Transportation Board.
“It’s going to be an important project to get done, but it is a significant project,” Simons said.
As for now, no timeline on the project although the cities might have a better idea after a feasibility study is conducted.
Simons said that study will be funded partially through a grant that he is hoping will be approved later this month.
The grant could account for $17,500 of more than $30,000 needed.
Simons said he is happy to be moving forward with this project, and says something similar to the “Swamp Rabbit Trail” in Greenville could be beneficial to the local communities.
“It’s important to our community,” Simons said. “This is something we’re lacking. Bike trails have been an important endeavor and mission for the city for several years. You don’t get the opportunity to buy this type of asset every day. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity so it’s a big deal.”
Simons said the city would like to link the new trail to some of the other bike trails in Easley, but can’t promise anything without having the results of a feasibility study.
“If we can do it we will,” Simons said. “We just don’t know if we’ll be able to.”
Simons said the project not eligible for TIF funds, which are set aside for restorations in the downtown area.