EASLEY — The Doodle Line, an historical piece of Pickens County’s past, is a vital portion of the downtown revitalization efforts of both Easley and Pickens. A final draft of the project is expected in April.
At this point in the development, the nature trail ends in the vicinity of Baptist Easley Hospital with a few hurdles to clear before completion is possible.
“Where we stand right now is we are finalizing the master plan, or feasibility study on the project, and that study should be ready to be released in the next few weeks,” Easley City Administrator Fox Simons said. “So there will be another public meeting, the time and location haven’t been set yet, but I expect by the end of April it will be on the streets and on the website for public consumption.”
The big issue for Easley in completing the project happens to also be a part of the history of the Doodle Line itself.
“There’s some concern, bringing it all the way into downtown because of the railroad tracks with twenty-five to thirty trains per day and we would be right next to it,” Simons explained. “So there is some concern about that, but having said that, it’s vitally important we get those people downtown and we’re doing our best to do that.”
Designed as a means of helping both Pickens and Easley not only retain part of its heritage, but stimulate investment in their respective downtowns, the cities have hired Alta Planning + Design to complete the logistics.
“Everything before this process was just average Joes putting it on the back of a piece of paper, or napkin,” Simons explained. “The cities of Easley and Pickens hired them (Alta Planning + Development) back in the fall and we’re planning to unveil the master plan in April. That’s the first anyone has put pen to paper on the project.”
Once the feasibility report is released by Alta Planning in April, the city of Easley will have a solution for reaching downtown and the only question remaining is the time frame for completion.
“A lot will depend on how much we can squeeze into the budget to do that (complete the project) and how much Pickens can squeeze into their budget,” Simons said. “My hope is sooner rather than later.”