Easley OKs trail funding

Mayor appoints committee to help make

Doodle Trail as profitable as possible

By Ben Robinson
Staff Reporter

EASLEY — One half of the funding for the Rails to Trails project on the former line of the Pickens Doodle was approved by Easley City Council on Monday night.

The next step will be for the city of Pickens to approve its half of the funding for the project to move forward. The project will retrace the path of the old Pickens Doodle train that used to run between Easley and Pickens with a multi-purpose recreational trail.

The trail is planned to be 8.5 miles and end on Fleetwood Drive in Easley.

Vicki Ciplickas, owner of the Starving Artist Café on Main Street, appeared before council to bring ideas for making the best use of the trail.

Ciplickas feels that the trail is key to reviving a dying downtown area. She said she was not trying to be rude.

“Easley deserves a nice downtown,” she said. “Main Street has a magnet effect, attracting many other pieces of the city’s economy. What we truly need is a plan.”

Councilman Chris Mann defended the city, noting several projects to develop the area. He said the city’s efforts in that area have been “somewhat productive in the past 10 years or so.”

Ciplickas said that the progress was welcome, but more work was needed. She said she wants the city to spend money to attract more people to the downtown area.

“‘If you build it, they will come’ only works in the movies,” Ciplickas said. “I think we could get more people interested if we had a plan.”

Mayor Larry Bagwell praised Ciplickas’ interest in the project but warned that caution was needed.

“We are dealing with other people’s money here,” he noted.

Bagwell appointed Ciplickas and two other citizens to a committee to oversee the projct and make it as profitable as possible for the city of Easley.