Mauldin City Council took a major step toward the development of a pedestrian bridge across I-385 during its December 16, 2019 meeting when it approved a development agreement for the design and construction of the bridge. This action follows the commitment of city council earlier this fall to develop the Swamp Rabbit Trail with the pedestrian bridge.
The cost for the design and construction of the bridge is an estimated $5 million. Through the development agreement, city council committed to contribute a not to exceed amount of $5 million for the project which will be funded through currently available resources and debt via an installment purchase revenue bond (IPRB). Council’s funding approach for this initiative will not require a millage or tax increase, will preserve capacity under the city’s statutory debt limit and will not use property tax dollars. Rather, the funding sources include hospitality and accommodations tax funds and funding the city receives annually from the Greenville Health Authority through Prisma Health.
The Greenville Health Authority and Prisma Health released the following statement:
“The Greenville Health Authority and Prisma Health are proud to support initiatives which enhance the health and well-being of the Upstate community. As longtime supporters of the Swamp Rabbit Trail, we know what a difference access to it can make in our communities. We commend Mauldin City Council for its efforts to extend this benefit to the Mauldin community and others in southern Greenville County.”
The proposed extension of the Swamp Rabbit Trail through Mauldin and on to Simpsonville and Fountain Inn is a goal of city council. The pedestrian bridge, which will connect to the BridgeWay Station development, is necessary for the trail extension. Councilman Taft Matney, chair of city council’s Economic Planning and Development Committee said, “This is more than a bridge. This is the answer to leapfrogging 385 and connecting the Swamp Rabbit Trail with southern Greenville County. This bridge will open incredible economic development potential for hospitality and retail sectors, and I’m excited that Mauldin and its partners could make that happen.”
The city has already begun the initial due diligence for the design and construction of a .25 mile section of the Swamp Rabbit Trail located across the street from Mauldin High School on E. Butler Rd. The paths of future sections of the trail through the City of Mauldin will require future Council discussions and public input. The design of the pedestrian bridge is anticipated to commence in 2020, with the construction following thereafter. Once construction starts, it is anticipated that it will take 12 to 18 months to complete. “The bridge is but a first step in the City’s larger goal of establishing safe bike and pedestrian routes across other points in Mauldin, including its schools, parks, Cultural Center, City Center, and other locations,” said Mayor-Elect Terry Merritt.