Easley awards contract for trail addition

By Jason Evans
Staff Reporter

EASLEY — Extending the Doodle Trail into downtown Easley will soon be a reality.

City council members passed a resolution awarding a contract not to exceed $616,000 to King Asphalt and Alta Planning and Design during their recent November meeting.

The plan calls for Wilbur Street to become a one-way street, allowing trail users to travel down that road. The trail would bring them down Wilbur Street and through the nearby cemetery to the sidewalk in front of the Easley Police Department.

The trail’s portion that would run through the cemetery would be closed during funerals, with trail users encouraged to use a detour route to access downtown during those times.

That plan allows the trail to be extended without forcing users to cross railroad tracks.

City administrator Stephen Steese said the city received two bids on the project — one from J. Davis Construction, the firm that will undertake the work on the Doodle Park, and a combined bid from King Asphalt and Alta Planning, who did the original Doodle Trail work.

Steese said he and building official Tommy Holcombe reviewed the bids.

The bids had certain criteria to be met, including ability to manage the project, responsiveness, qualifications, references and costs.

“Their costs were within $3,000 of the $616,000 project,” Steese said. “So whenever we sat down and reviewed their experience, it was hard to overlook what King and Alta did on the first part of the Doodle Trail and rank somebody ahead of them.”

Steese said he’s spoken with Mike Crenshaw of King Asphalt and Blake Sanders with Alta Planning about “sitting down and trying to trim that cost down.”

“We had anticipated it being closer to about $500,000,” Steese said. “There are some things that we can go in and try to trim and get that down closer to within our estimated budget.”

The work will be funded by a $1.5 million hospitality bond.

“We’ve spent right at a million dollars of that purchasing and demolishing the property along the route that this is going to take.” Steese said. “There’s about $500,000 left in there. We’re going to work and get down to as close to that as possible.”

He said a priority would be to make sure the cost trims don’t impact the overall nature of the project.

Mayor Larry Bagwell said the money spent to demolish those properties wasn’t solely to clear the way for the Doodle Trail extension.

“It’s to redevelop later on some properties we own over there,” he said. “It’s not all Doodle Trail.”

The resolution passed unanimously.