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The City of Travelers Rest has received a Municipal Achievement Award for its Trailblazer Park. Officials were accepted the award during the Municipal Association of South Carolina's Annual Meeting on July 18. The town won in the 1,001 – 5,000 population category. Twenty-nine cities and towns submitted their projects and initiatives.
The former Travelers Rest High School is located in the middle of town, close to the highway and adjacent to the Swamp Rabbit Trail, a popular walking and bike path. Officials learned that the school district was planning to leave the abandoned school buildings standing and use the parking lot as a bus hub.
Once the school district agreed to the plan, officials soon envisioned the 31-acre parcel as a municipal recreation complex that could house city facilities in a park setting. Travelers Rest was in the planning stages for a new city hall and was also in need of additional festival space and a permanent location for the farmers market.
Travelers Rest partnered with Greenville County to make the project a reality. The city and county worked together to come up with money for the project, tapping hospitality tax revenue bonds and applying for an Appalachian Regional Commission grant. In the end, each entity purchased half of the land.
While the county is still raising money to rehabilitate the football stadium and build a baseball complex, the city has already built an amphitheater for events and a pavilion for the farmers market. A new City Hall and a fire station are next.
"Trailblazer Park is a great example of local officials increasing the quality of life in an already great town," said Miriam Hair, executive director for the Municipal Association.
These winning entries represent innovative projects undertaken by Municipal Association member cities and towns. More information and a video about the project are available on the Association's website.
The Municipal Association of South Carolina initiated the Achievement Awards in 1987 to recognize and encourage innovations and excellence in local government.