Alder Park Walking Trail Celebration

Sent some notes to some of our Westwood neighbors to let them know about our upcoming celebration of the new walking trail at Alder Park. It’s Saturday, Jan. 8th at 3 PM. We’re going to walk together (it’s about 1/3 mile loop), and we’ll have some post-walk refreshments. If you haven’t been out to Alder Park lately, come check out the new walking trail, as well as all of the other improvements made over the last year. Happy new year.

Alder Park Trail

Councilman Lou Hutchings and I are excited to share that the Loop Trail at Alder Park in Westwood is nearing completion. Robbie Davis with Simpsonville Parks and Recreation told us at this week’s Council meeting that, barring any unforeseen circumstances, they expect to have our trail paved by Thanksgiving! We look forward to this latest addition to the amenities at our Park.#SimplyActive #SimplyRecreational #SimplyCommunity #SimplyHome

We Voted: Swamp Rabbit is Coming to Simpsonville!

Promises made, promises kept: the Green Line section of the Swamp Rabbit Trail is coming to downtown Simpsonville! City Council voted tonight. In 2015, I told you “It’s a no-brainer, in my opinion: we need to bring the SRT to Simpsonville, sooner rather than later” (see original blog post here: https://bit.ly/2vWwEcp). I promised to focus on getting it done because it’s good for Simpsonville and for all of us who live, work,and play here. And here we are. Finally. And the Golden Strip Trails group will continue to work to connect us to our sister cities. This is just the beginning! This section of the trail will be paid for from our Hospitality & Accommodations Tax funds, not your property tax dollars. Also, County Councilman Dan Tripp helped us out with some County dollars.

Excited for Future Trails in Simpsonville!

Today Bonnie Ray and I hiked a new-to-us trail: Flat Tail Trail, which is a part of Lake Conestee Nature Park. We started at the trailhead at Belmont Fire Station, crossed over the Swamp Rabbit Trail, made a few detours onto smaller trails like Box Turtle Run, and then looped back to the fire station. We saw all kinds of people (and dogs): young families with children on foot or on bicycle, senior citizens out for a stroll, nature lovers watching birds from the observation decks… everyone enjoying this beautiful day.

Back when I was running for office in 2015, we talked about bringing the Swamp Rabbit Trail to Simpsonville. I told you I was committed to that because it’s good for us and the city. I haven’t changed my mind…even if our plan on how to bring trails to Simpsonville has evolved. I am excited that we’re making progress (the trails group met last week), and I am excited to one day be walking with my dog along Simpsonville’s trails.

I hope y’all were all able to enjoy this beautiful day in your own way. Have a great week, Simpsonville!

What last night tells us: it’s time to commit.

Last night I had the opportunity to speak (with some other candidates) at a Campaign Barbecue sponsored by a group of

citizens. It was a great opportunity to meet voters. I thought it was primarily a meet and greet until we were asked by one of the hosts to take the microphone and deliver a 2-minute speech, highlighting our platforms.

Halfway through mine, I was interrupted by applause. What did I say? This:

“We need a stronger commitment to the arts, to community and cultural programs and services. This includes things like the Swamp Rabbit Trail, an Arts & Cultural Center…”

Some in our community say we do not need an Arts and/or Cultural Center. They say we have adequate access to arts & culture in Mauldin and Fountain Inn. “Support our sister cities” is their rally cry.

I disagree with that. It’s not that we shouldn’t support Fountain Inn and Mauldin or take advantage of the opportunities they offer. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have our own.

campaign bbq speakingAnd the 140 people who erupted in applause last night clearly agree. They’re not the only ones—every where I go, I hear the same support from the people of our city. The people of our city want access to the arts here in Simpsonville. They want the city government to encourage and support and do its part in getting the Swamp Rabbit Trail in and through Simpsonville. They agree—now is the time to focus on getting that done.

And that’s not just because they think it would be cool to have a community theater right here in town. Not just because they want a safe, pleasant place to ride bikes and enjoy nature. Those are reasons. But in talking with them, it’s clear that they know what I know (and have been saying throughout this campaign):

Community development is economic development.

Just look at what the Swamp Rabbit Trail (SRT) has done for Traveler’s Rest. If you don’t know about the economic impact it’s had on that city, you should stop in one day soon. And see what SRT could do for Simpsonville.

According to the Greenville Rec website, the SRT served 501,000 people last year, yielding $6.7 million in tourism revenue. So not only would the SRT improve our quality of life in Simpsonville by offering a new opportunity for recreation, it could also be a serious boon to our economy. It’s a no-brainer, in my opinion: we need to bring the SRT to Simpsonville, sooner rather than later.

Our city government needs to commit to these things as part of a long-term goal for the city to provide access to the arts and to create economic development through community development. The city government—lead by its council and mayor—should be doing everything within its power to encourage growth in Simpsonville in these ways.

I get that. So do the everyday citizens who live here. It’s time to commit to making it happen. And that’s why I’m running for city council.