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  • Small Town. Big Money. Leveraging Success.

    Wednesday, December 11, 11:15 am - 11:45 am
    West Hall A – Area A
    Learning Lounges
    Track 2: Financing Options, Real Estate, & Economic Development
    With a population of just over 3,000, the rural Appalachian town of Pickens, SC situated at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains has managed to complete a redevelopment project that is the envy of towns across the area. Pickens partnered with neighboring Easley to construct an 8-mile long trail, known as the Doodle Trail, connecting the two towns along an abandoned rail line. Situated at the Pickens trailhead was an abandoned rail depot and textbook brownfield site. The community had no shortage of vision for what the site could become. After extensive community outreach, visioning, and planning efforts, Pickens now had a plan and design for their new railroad themed trailhead park which would feature an open-air farmers market, sensory rain garden, recreation areas, an extension of the Doodle Trail, and a railroad museum paying homage to the history of the property. The next challenge was finding the financing to make this project a reality. After several unsuccessful attempts to leverage funding to assist with the redevelopment of the property, it became apparent that the environmental concerns associated with the site must be addressed. An assessment funded by the City and a Brownfields Cleanup Grant addressed the environmental concerns and additional funding began to pour in. Twelve grants from multiple private and government entities totaling $1.7 million not only led to the redevelopment of this property, but it has ignited a spark of revitalization in the community
    Tice Welborn
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