Kevin Maxey opened his Downtown Easley bike rental, Upcountry Outdoors, last summer, just one month after the Pickens County Doodle Trail opened. His vision was to rent and sell bikes to trail enthusiasts.
“My wife and I want to see the downtown area prosper and do well and, hopefully, we will be a part of that,” said Maxey.
He’s getting business from all over, but he said the only drawback has been how far his shop is from the start of the trail head. It is just around a mile away over active train tracks.
“We’re hoping to see the trail come on into downtown to allow for a safer ride for the folks that are out,” said Maxey.
It is a hope that the city council is working to come true. Monday, they voted to connect the trail from its start on Fleetwood by using Wilbur Street.
“This is something we’ve been working on for quite a few years now,” explained Councilman Chris Mann.
Mann is head of a committee that’s studied ways to bring the doodle trail into downtown.
“We’ll be coming through a neighborhood that we hope will lead to some revitalization and rebirth in that neighborhood,” said Mann, regarding the “Simpson” community the trail will move through.
The goal, according to Mann, is to create more green spaces along the $400,000 dollar extension. In addition to demolishing a section of abandoned homes to create pocket parks, they are looking to add affordable housing where residents can take pride.
They will also extend sidewalks in front of the city’s law enforcement center to welcome trail goers into the business district.
“This is an exciting time in Easley,” Mann explained.
The city council will still have to hold a public hearing in order to listen to potential concerns about turning sections of Wilbur Street into a one-way. Councilman Mann said this addition will be covered under a $1.5 million dollar bond and will be repaid through money generated by hospitality taxes.
Mann said the project could be completed by the end of 2016 if all goes well.