As Greenville prepares to release plans for the extension of the Swamp Rabbit Trail to the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research at an open house Thursday, Mauldin is taking steps toward installing its own leg of the trail and a pedestrian bridge over Interstate 385.
Under the leadership of Upstate Regional Director Amanda Taylor, AT&T gifted the city $50,000 in utility tax credits, announced on Monday at a City Council meeting, for the creation of a trailhead feature at the foot of the $5 million pedestrian bridge.
“AT&T would like to say thank you for allowing us to partner with the city of Mauldin with your parks project. We were able to contribute $50,000 ETC grant money, and we are very pleased to be in partnership with your trail project,” Taylor said at the meeting.
The trailhead, on East Butler Road, will be installed at the foot of the bridge, linking Mauldin High School to Mauldin Elementary and Middle Schools, as well as the Golden Strip Career Center and an incoming Bridgeway Station multi-use community developed by Phil Hughes.
“Bridgeway Station … when it’s completely built out, will have hotels, restaurants,” said Van Broad, Mauldin’s community development director. “It could have 10,000-plus jobs associated with that and over a half a billion dollars in investment. That’s a pretty seriously significant economic development project.”
Work on the East Butler Corridor trail extension is expected to begin in 2022-2023, according to Broad with the groundbreaking of the bridge project slated for spring 2021 or sooner.
Mauldin City Council has already agreed to link its portion of the trail to CU-ICAR in coordination with the city of Greenville’s plans.
“The entire trail system may be a couple million dollars, but that does not include the bridge. And that’s a high estimate,” Broad said.
Last year, Laurens Electric Cooperative and its substation agreed to a property easement allowing the city to link the trail to Interstate 385, which Broad calls a “big gift,” with a potential price tag of a couple hundred thousand dollars.
“Mauldin has been leading that effort,” Ty Houck, Greenway, Natural and Historic Resource director of the Greenville County Recreation District, when asked about the extension of the Swamp Rabbit Trail into Mauldin city limits.
The Swamp Rabbit Trail creates an average $6.7 million annual economic impact in Greenville County and boosts sales at trail-side businesses by 85%, according to a Furman University report.