Path plan on hold

tflach@thestate.comApril 8, 2013 

— The first small leg of what supporters hope will become a network of public trails in central Lexington County is in limbo.

Its start has been held up for two years, as federal officials review the plan to assure minimal damage to wetlands on a segment of Fourteen Mile Creek on the north edge of Lexington.

“Sometimes, projects take longer than you want,” town administrator Britt Poole said. “It’s unfortunate.”

The path would stretch two-thirds of a mile in a loop along and across the creek near North Lake Drive (S.C. 6) and Old Cherokee Road, largely following the route of town sewer lines underground.

Unofficially, the path is known as Trailhead Park.

A design using plastic grids and three wooden bridges will minimize environmental harm, withstand occasional flooding and allow easy upkeep, town parks director Dan Walker said. There will be no lights for night use.

The path includes an outdoor classroom for environmental instruction.

Wooded buffers keep the trail 150 feet from most homes nearby.

Completion of the $120,000 project is expected to take about six months once federal officials give the go-ahead.

It’s designed with federal requirements in mind, officials said. “We’re trying to iron out the final details,” town grants administrator Wesley Crosby said.

The path would join a few others already available in the town of 18,000 residents.

But the others are clustered in the center of the community at Virginia Hylton Park, Gibson Pond Park and along local landmarks on Main Street and adjoining roads.

Leaders of the Community Open Land Trust, a partner for the project with Town Hall, want to link those paths into a network extending to the lower Saluda River someday.

Brenda Davis, executive director of the group, is eager for the path’s debut to encourage exercise, social contact and fuel conservation.

“It will demonstrate the benefits of trails,” she said.

Reach Flach at (803) 771-8483.

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