While many people are stuck at home during the coronavirus outbreak, Partners for Active Living is moving ahead with plans to expand its countywide trails network.
PAL has asked Spartanburg County to apply for a $17.4 million federal grant to build 14 miles of new trails and two pedestrian bridges across two major highways, as part of the 32-mile Daniel Morgan Trail System.
If the county agrees and the U.S. Department of Transportation BUILD grant is approved, the county would manage the tracking and reporting, as well as own and maintain the trails once built.
The request is one of a few items on a scaled-back agenda for Monday’s county council meeting, which will be live-streamed on the county’s YouTube channel.
The general session with committee reports is set for 4:30 p.m. Monday, followed by the main meeting at 5:30 p.m. The county administration building is closed to the public, and there will be no public hearings.
Instructions on how to watch the virtual meeting are posted on the county’s website. Council members will be linked via a Zoom app to conduct business.
County Administrator Cole Alverson said the virtual meeting is a result of the coronavirus outbreak and the need to keep people apart to prevent the spread of the deadly virus. Two weeks ago, the county council declared a state of emergency in response to COVID-19 and ordered all county buildings closed to the public until further notice.
Earlier this month, Spartanburg City Council also held virtual meetings to conduct business. The trail grant submission request is the only item for action on the livability committee, chaired by Councilman Jack Mabry.
PAL’s Laura Ringo, executive director, and Ned Barrett, trails coordinator, explained that the BUILD Transportation grants are for surface transportation infrastructure projects, such as roads, bridges, transit and rail.
According to the DOT, Project grants of up to $25 million are awarded for rural areas to make transportation systems safer and more efficient. The grant request is due May 18, according to PAL.
The planned route will connect Woodland Heights Elementary, R.P. Dawkins Middle School and Anderson Mill Elementary.
Also, the project will include a 4-mile loop at the Downtown Spartanburg Airport and connect to the old Anderson Mill that is being renovated, the Anderson Mill Road side path project and earlier phases of the Wadsworth Trail.
One of the bridges will cross Highway 295/Southport Road, and the other will cross Interstate 26.
Spartanburg School District 6, the city of Spartanburg and the Tyger River Foundation support the project.
Meanwhile, the county council will also consider a request by Cherokee Springs Fire Department to hold a public hearing on its plan for a voter referendum to borrow $5.5 million for a new fire station headquarters.
If county council agrees, a referendum would be scheduled later this year to let voters in the fire district decide. If voters approve, the millage rate would be roughly 10 mills higher and cost about $40 a year for each $100,000 of assessed property value.
Fire Chief Trent Harper said call volume has increased and the current station -- built more than 50 years ago -- is outgrown and outdated.