Clemson Park pump track in final stages

By Greg Oliver
Courtesy The Journal

CLEMSON — A pump track designed for all ages and skill levels is in the process of being completed at Clemson Park, part of the city’s effort to make its oldest park more appealing.

Clemson Park has sat mostly vacant since the parks and recreation department relocated its headquarters to Nettles Park more than 15 years ago. A community garden has been the primary usage since, but city officials have long sought ways to make the park located behind Clemson United Methodist Church on Frontage Road more of a destination.

Friends of the Green Crescent Trail helped the city in revitalizing the park. Group member Chad Carson said a pump track can be likened to “a playground for people with bikes.”

“It’s designed for users of all ages and skill levels and meant to be a fun learning tool that allows you to get some exercise,” Carson said. “The idea is to have a series of small asphalt hills, banks and turns that bikers can ride on and around.”

Carson added having a pump track at Clemson Park “will fit in nicely” with the overall Green Crescent Trail.

“This will be a hub and jumping-on point for Phase I of the trail,” Carson said. “Kids and adults will be able to come to Clemson Park to practice and use the pump track. Then, if they want a longer ride, they can keep going on the trail toward Clemson University, Clemson Elementary or other parts of the city as the trail expands.”


Funding and costs

Funding for the pump track, Carson pointed out, will come in part from a $10,000 Duke Energy Powerful Communities Grant, with a larger portion to cover the remaining costs coming from the city of Clemson. City parks and recreation director Jay Bennett said the overall project cost $140,000.

City horticulturist Tony Tidwell said this month the asphalt portion has been completed and 6,000 square feet of sod would be installed. Tidwell said children were already using skateboards at the track.

“You use a pumping motion so you don’t have to pedal on a bike,” Tidwell explained. “You go through a series of undulations and curves, and the better you get at it, the more you can do. You can kind of ride through it as a beginner, and then if you get really advanced, you can do all kinds of fancy tricks and stuff. You can also use a skateboard and a scooter, even though it’s more of a bike usage.”

Tidwell said he believes the pump track can play a huge role in making Clemson Park a destination for youth and adults.

“It will be a big part of it,” he said. “This asphalt pump track is really the first of its kind in South Carolina as far as the asphalt version goes. We feel it’s going to be a pretty good attraction, and judging by the number of folks already coming out and using it, that’s bearing out.”

Carson said he is glad to see the pump track becoming a reality.

“We hope it will be the first of many improvements that will breathe life back into Clemson Park, which has been neglected over the years,” he said.