Spartanburg non-profit aims to revitalize Duncan Park

Published: Aug. 15, 2022 at 10:32 PM EDT
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SPARTANBURG, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - One of Spartanburg’s largest parks might soon be getting some upgrades.

Duncan Park is tucked away on the other side of the Mary Black Foundation Rail Trail. The park is surrounded by six different neighborhoods. Seems like it would be a very popular spot for outdoor lovers but a Spartanburg non-profit found that’s not entirely the case. Now they’re trying to bring it back to life.

Duncan park is a quiet place.

“We definitely walk our dog most days, but my son likes to ride the bike trails,” said Anne Catlla, a Duncan Park neighborhood resident. .

During summer months, Catlla uses the trails at Duncan Park, at least 5 times a week and on her walks she mostly sees just her neighbors.

“I see them in this park. and so, in that way I think that this park does serve as a kind of a connector for the whole community” she said.

A local non-profit wants to connect the park to more of the community.

“The goal is really to figure out how they’re reenergizing this whole area. including the trails” said Laura Ringo, executive director for PAL, Play, Advocate, Live Well.

Part of PAL’s goal is to get more people outside, so they set their eyes on the 100 acres of Duncan Park.

“There is a need for just more programming, more activity, more community use of this space” said Ringo.

They counted the number of bike and walking trail users with sensors on the trials that track the number of people that walk by. They only counted about a thousand people using them every year.

“The Mary Black Foundation Rail Trail, which is right across the street from some of the trails in Duncan Park is getting over 200,000 uses a year so there was a really significant difference” said Ringo.

Through surveys the non-profit is trying to gauge what improvements people want to see most.

“There’s some interest in some smaller improvements like benches, picnic tables, and signage. So that seems very feasible. there’s also interest in some really big ideas like a trail that goes all the way around the lake” said Ringo.

“I know people who live in other parts of the lake, but we wouldn’t be able to walk there or even ride bikes there without going onto the street,” said Catlla.

Other ideas are a disc golf course, removing plants that overrun the trails, and opening the lake up for more than just the view--- activities like kayaking, boating, and fishing.

“Really figuring out how to tie all the pieces together, we’ve got a number of great facilities but they’re not well-connected or vey cohesive,” said Ringo.

The hope is to bring design plans to the city council for approval this fall. but first they need your input. August 27th from 4pm to 7pm at CC Woodson Community Center, there will be a meeting. Residents can let PAL know what you’d like to see at Duncan Park. For more information on the revitalization plan, and a link to the survey click here.