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Delegation gives Spartanburg $100K for Rail Trail park

Published by the Spartanburg Herald Journal; to see the full article, click here.

The Spartanburg County Legislative Delegation faced a dilemma this week.

The cities of Spartanburg and Inman each requested $100,000 for parks projects. But the delegation only had $119,373 to hand out in state Parks and Recreation Development funds.

“Inman is on the cusp of major change for the better,” City Administrator Jeremy Caudle said in his pitch. “The (Leroy Mathis) park is a big part of it.”

In the end, though, Spartanburg won out.

Legislators awarded $100,000 to Spartanburg for its $1.14 million 7-acre park at the Mary Black Rail Trail between Union Street and Glendale Road.

Inman was awarded the remaining $19,373, but Caudle said that project could still move forward — the city would have to borrow more to make up the difference, though, and it would take longer to build.

For Spartanburg, the cash infusion means grading can begin next week as planned, with a spring 2018 completion on target.

“This will give us a new signature park,” said Mitch Kennedy, community services director for the city. Partners for Active Living Director Laura Ringo is working with Kennedy to develop the park, which will include a “Play 60” section.

Kennedy said the Play 60 part of the park will be the first of its type in South Carolina.

The Carolina Panthers, which helped build three Play 60 parks in Charlotte, donated $20,000 to Spartanburg for the park here, Kennedy said.

Play 60 will feature a playground with obstacle courses and elements of an NFL combine workout to promote the NFL’s youth health and fitness campaign, which encourages young fans to be active for at least 60 minutes a day.

“The full park will include many other features that are not NFL-related,” Ringo said.

The city of Spartanburg also received a $42,000 donation from J M Smith Corp. and raised $935,000 in private donations for the new park.

Caudle said the Leroy Mathis Park project in Inman will cost $286,550, and that will be paid for with city funds, grants and borrowed money.

It will include a new playground, restrooms, trails and a stage area for concerts to draw visitors to Inman, he said.

Caudle said Spartanburg County Parks and Recreation is helping with the project, and that work has already started.