New Opportunities for Active Living in Spartanburg
This week’s blog is written by Laura Ringo, Executive Director, Partners for Active Living
Can You Imagine?
Can you imagine riding bicycles with your child to school? Or feeling safe and riding your bicycle to work? Perhaps it’s waking up on a Saturday morning and taking a walk across our community with your family. Or what about walking or strolling from your home to downtown Spartanburg for lunch with friends?
Partners for Active Living, with many community partners, is developing The Dan to do just that. The Dan, or The Daniel Morgan Trail System, will be Spartanburg’s 32-mile interconnected trail system that includes 11 existing miles and 21 new miles. Trails connect communities and help bridge divides. Our system will reach Glendale Shoals, pass through downtown, connect to Harvest Park on the Northside, and leave the City limits near the downtown airport on the westside.
And once this is done, we will keep expanding.
Thank you, Mary Black Foundation!
Mary Black Foundation issued a $1 million dollar challenge grant to help catapult this transformative community project. With Mary Black Foundation’s incredible gift, $8.4M in both public and private funding has been invested in trails in recent years in our community. To help us meet this challenge grant, visit dantrail.com. Every gift counts!
So, Where are We?
To date, we (and/or a community partner) have added the Upper and Lower Drayton Trails, the first phase of the River Birch Trail, and most recently the Westview Elementary School connector with the Westside Neighborhood Association.
In early October we will start construction on a 1.2 mile trail along the Fairforest Creek and Vanderbilt Road. And in a few weeks the downtown trail connection from the MBF Rail Trail to Barnet Park should (finally) begin.
In early 2020, we will be expanding the Lower Drayton Trail under the Norfolk Southern trestle and heading downstream toward the old Spartanburg High School and Cottonwood Trail.
And there’s more to come…
To solidify our vision of a seamless trails system, and to engage the community in our efforts, we’re excited to introduce you to The Daniel Morgan Trails System, or better yet, simply, The Dan!
It was General Daniel Morgan who helped deliver one of the most important victories against the British at the Battle of Cowpens in 1781. Celebrated for bringing about a decisive turning point in the American Revolutionary War, the revered General was honored with a statue that stands, to this day, as a symbol of pride in downtown Spartanburg. Two centuries and over three decades later, Spartanburg has turned some of the same pathways used by Morgan and his troops, into an integrated trail network.
We think The Dan:
- Feels like Spartanburg and is unique to our community
- Celebrates our history but isn’t stale
- Applies to the City and the County
- Is short and catchy since we have existing trail sections that have long names
- Is uniquely Spartanburg!
The Bike Park at The Rail Yard
While The Dan trails will be paved for all speeds of physical activity, Partners for Active Living and the Coalition for Active Youth are creating some more challenging dirt trails and wood jumps inside of a redeveloped 7 acre property along the MBF Rail Trail called The Rail Yard. This park will serve as a major destination along Spartanburg’s new trails system.
The Bike Park: The Why
The bike park’s target population is youth ranging from elementary school to young adult. BMI rates among children and youth increase with age. Having inviting opportunities for activity will spur a group that is limited in its opportunities for physical activity. The proposed activities will have features for those that are young and brand new to riding, as well as those that are seasoned.
Thank you, Mary Black Foundation Trustees and staff, for investing in these and many other active living projects!