- Live Well
Spartanburg Water has opened its second free water refilling station and drinking fountain at the Rail Yard on the 1.9-mile Mary Black Foundation Rail Trail.
“It’s nice and convenient,” said Tristin Robinette of Spartanburg, who was on the trail Monday walking his dog. “I can fill my bottle when it gets hot. It beats the heat.”
The first refill station opened in April 2016 at Morgan Square downtown.
Spartanburg Water spokesman Chad Lawson said the newest refill station is next to a former trolley pavilion, where tracks once connected downtown to Forest Avenue near Old Glendale Road.
The water unit stands about 5 feet tall and is connected to an underground water pipe. The station is handicap-accessible and includes a ground-level drinking fountain for dogs.
More water stations are planned to open around town by this fall, Lawson said.
The stations are a result of Spartanburg’s Way to Wellville program, a challenge to communities to encourage healthy lifestyles. Spartanburg was one of five communities nationwide chosen for Way to Wellville.
Spartanburg Water’s response to the program was launching Choose Tap, a program that water system CEO Sue Schneider said urges residents to drink tap water because it is free and spares landfills from plastic water bottles.
“By simply drinking tap water, we can improve the health of Spartanburg and strengthen the pride and confidence our residents have in this community and all it has to offer,” Schneider said.
Lawson said The Mary Black Foundation provided a $15,000 grant for the stations, which cost about $5,000 each.
The rail trail park is sponsored by Way to Wellville, the Mary Black Foundation, Partners for Active Living, the city of Spartanburg and the Group of 100, which is made up of residents who want to beautify Spartanburg.
“This park is the perfect place for this (refill station),” said Lindsey Graham with Partners for Active Living. “The rail trail is heavily used.”
Spartanburg Water produces an average of 30 million gallons of drinking water daily and serves a population of more than 180,000 people in Spartanburg County, as well as others in parts of Greenville, Union and Cherokee counties.
Lawson said since the first refill station opened at Morgan Square, he’s received calls from other water systems across the country that want to replicate the Choose Tap approach.
“It’s just a different new way of talking about water,” he said.