New Swamp Rabbit Trail bridges on track for December opening

Published: Jun. 1, 2022 at 9:49 AM EDT
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GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - There’s more good news for Greenville’s outdoor aficionados.

Two new pedestrian bridges are on track to open in December as part of the 4.5 mile Swamp Rabbit Trail extension, according to City of Greenville spokesperson Beth Brotherton.

The two bridges, one over Haywood Road and one over Laurens Road, will help connect the trail from Cleveland Park to Clemson University’s ICAR campus.

“I think that’s wonderful because a lot of the population of the city lives on this side of town and it will give them greater access to it,” Linda Park, who rides the portion of the trail near her home in Powdersville, said.

While a concrete shortage has delayed many other builds, Brotherton said they were ahead of schedule before the supply issues hit so they are still on schedule.

At Haywood, crews are pouring walls and setting in slabs. At Laurens, crews have started driving piles, but work has paused while efforts focus in on Haywood, Brotherton said.

Fox Carolina's Grace Runkel reports the impact trail users and business owners think the Swamp Rabbit Trail extension could have.

For local business owners, excitement is building alongside the bridges.

Nate Tomforde owns two Greenville breweries: Southernside in Unity Park and Double Stamp at Holland Park. When the extension is done, both breweries will be trailside.

“It’s hard to find a perfect location today without over paying for rent and so I think a lot of it is you’re looking where development is going, where is the city growing in different neighborhoods,” Tomforde said.

He’s seen the impact the trail can have. The path along Southernside was closed all last summer as crews worked on Unity Park projects. Tomforde said the drop in business was significant, almost 40%.

But since the trail along the brewery has reopened, and with the addition of Unity Park, business is back up and growing, Tomforde said.

“The activity in the Swamp Rabbit Trail is kind of the life blood of Greenville,” Tomforde said. “It’s kind of the artery that everyone is travelling up and down on and so for me -- I wanted to be a part of that.”

He expects to see the same spike at Double Stamp when the extension is complete.

“Once people start travelling and you’re kind of hitting a completely different demographic, almost getting to the east side of Greenville,” Tomforde said.