Podcast & Blog Posts

Celebrating the Place We Play: the MBF Rail Trail-iversary

June 21, 2016

We recently celebrated the tenth anniversary of the opening of the Mary Black Foundation Rail Trail with, what else, a bike parade. A bright sunny morning found 50 or so silly participants gathering at Barnet Park to ride the route of the upcoming extension of the Rail Trail across town.

This event took a few weeks to plan, a little anxiety and elbow grease, a lot of creative thought brought mostly by the geniuses at Hub-Bub, and some papier mache and fake fur. The (amazing) Spartanburg Police Department worked their magic to keep the rolling party safe. We waved at patiently waiting drivers, and once we hit the trail itself, everyone became part of the party. We stopped the parade at the new park site on the trail just south of Forest Avenue.

We had the usual welcoming and blather about how popular/important/seminal our modest little trail is. Then Our Fearless Leader Laura Ringo asked the most important question of the day: what does the trail mean to you?

Spartanburg Librarian Todd Stephens said he remembered rising it when it was gravel and wondering it if would ever get done.

Lamar Baehr said he likes riding  through the property of the new park and playing on his bike.

Joan Tobey said she likes that drivers watch out for trail users and stop to let them cross.

What they mean, of course, is that it has brought far more than a paved line through town. It has taught us that perseverance in pursuit of our goals brings results. It has provided us with a place where we play together. It has created a culture of cooperation and unity, joining people literally from across the tracks of different races and genders and abilities, a place where people greet each other with a smile.

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