Students studying outside the library

Spartanburg Regional Healthcare, Wofford College to become key links of Palmetto Trail in Hub City

November 16, 2004

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The Palmetto Trail has found support across South Carolina from mountains to the sea, and its newest partners – Wofford College and Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System – are two of Spartanburg’s premiere institutions and most scenic places.

On Tuesday, Nov. 16, leaders from the three organizations announced a partnership to take the trail into the Liberty Garden and Liberty Trail that connect Wofford College and Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System’s Heart Center on Pearl Street. The deal was the final agreement necessary to confirm the trail route through downtown Spartanburg.

Keith Laughlin, president of the 100,000-member Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, will visit the Liberty Garden at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 16, to make the announcement and speak about the importance of trails and greenways in our communities.

“We are honored that Wofford College and Spartanburg Regional wanted to become part of the state’s pedestrian superhighway,” said S.C. Sen. Jim Ritchie, a board member of the Palmetto Conservation Foundation, which is the statewide group building the trail.

“The Liberty Garden and Liberty Trail are two of the finest places to walk in Spartanburg, and we want everybody to know that they’re here for the public to enjoy,” Ritchie said.

In Spartanburg, the Palmetto Trail will be known as the Hub City Connector. The 12-mile route – which will feature schools, parks, rail-to-trail conversions, neighborhoods, bike lanes and safe, signed sidewalks – begins at the S.C. School for the Deaf and the Blind and will end at the University of South Carolina Upstate. It could become the “spine” for a citywide trail network.

The segment in the Liberty Garden eventually will be dedicated with kiosks, trail maps and mileage markers thanks to a $7,500 grant to the trail from the Spartanburg County Foundation.

“This community has really come together behind the Palmetto Trail. Our partnerships have included substantial grants as well as $25 donations from families who want to see their names engraved on the trail. They’re all important as we continue working to make Spartanburg a more livable community,” Ritchie said.

Wofford president Dr. Benjamin B. Dunlap praised the collaborative effort of Wofford College and Spartanburg Regional Medical Center. “An extension of Wofford’s nationally recognized arboretum, our two legs of the Hub City Connector are stunningly beautiful evidence of a joint commitment to the well-being of the wider Spartanburg community. Wofford is honored to be a partner in this exciting project.”

SRHS President and CEO Ingo Angermeier said, “We are delighted to be working with the Palmetto Conservation Foundation and Wofford College to make the Hub City Connector possible. We know that as one of a few sections of the Palmetto Trail that will travel through an urban area of South Carolina, we are in a unique position to showcase the Spartanburg community as well as our individual institutions and their trails, parks and arboreta.”

Laughlin will be stopping in Spartanburg as part of a two-day swing through South Carolina to promote how we can build and improve our communities through trails and greenways. The Spartanburg Area Conservancy is co-sponsoring his visit.

The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy works to enrich America’s communities by creating a nationwide network of public trails from former rail lines and connecting corridors.

PCF is a statewide, non-profit membership organization based in Columbia, with an office in Spartanburg. The group works to conserve important natural area, preserve historic sites and promote outdoor recreation and active living on trails and greenways.